The wildlife business here in Colorado Springs is pretty busy this week.
First, we had the lion (see previous post). Authorities are pretty well convinced this was a large dog, a Great Pyrenees or or a Chow, with the former being closer to lion size but the latter providing a closer match in appearance. It remains odd that no one has reported a large and expensive dog missing, and odder still that the DOW expert has not clarified (or at least has not been quoted in the news media) how the agency's experts came to describe tracks found during the search as lion prints six inches across. That seems to put them out of the dog range even if you assume an expert confused canine and feline impressions. (Such confusion is possible if you have smudged or faint impressions, but, as I mentioned yesterday, if the impressions weren't clear it seems improper to declare an ID in the first place.)
Then we had the bear. Black bears are very rare in the city of Colorado Springs, but one somehow wandered into a well-built-up area and was almost hit by a police car, after which he lodged himself in a tree. When he was nudged out of the tree with a firehose, he ran through the glass front of a Circuit City store. The bear is headed out of town, with authorities keeping an eye on him to make sure there are no incidents.
The combination led the DJs on 106.3 FM this morning to say things like "I'm waiting for the chupacabras sightings" and "Where is the Loch Ness Sasquatch in all this?" Since we are fudging the line between zoolog yand cryptozoology already, I should follow up on my comment yesterday about how many unexplained lion sightings take place. See Mysterious America: The Revised Edition by Loren Coleman (NY: Paraview, 2001). I've not covered that topic in my own books, thought I spent considerable time on the related issue of the problematic Eastern cougar.