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Video surfaces showing possible lion in Milwaukee; Chief Flynn says “We’re treating it seriously”

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MILWAUKEE -- Milwaukee police say they are treating these reports regarding a possible lion in Milwaukee as "credible."

Video surfaced Tuesday showing what appears to be a big cat sauntering through a neighborhood. The woman who shot the video planned to grill out on Tuesday evening -- but with a baseball bat nearby -- just in case.

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Police and wildlife officials are trying to determine what it is that the woman caught on camera.

Footprint in Kelly Brooks' yard

Footprint in Kelly Brooks' yard

Kelly Brooks says a strange footprint appeared in his yard on Monday. Even stranger -- the call he got from his neighbor.

"I got the call from the neighbor saying 'hey Kelly, don't go in your backyard. It's a big animal back there and it looks like a lion," Brooks said.

Brooks admits that at first, he didn't believe it. Then he saw the video his neighbor shot.

"I'm like that's a lion, lion!  Not like a play lion -- like a lion, lion," Brooks said.

This all began on Monday night, when police took a report from an individual who saw what they believed to be a lion near E. Garfield Avenue and Palmer Street.

Police took a second report on Tuesday -- a sighting near 37th and Sarnow.

"We're treating it seriously," Milwaukee Police Chief Ed Flynn said.

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Kisha Norman says neighbors told her a large cat ran up a tree.

Milwaukee police officers and DNR wardens were out in that area and did a grid search for about two hours. But they found nothing.

The search Monday night near Garfield and Palmer also turned up nothing.

The "Milwaukee Lion," as it has been dubbed, has become the talk of the city. On Tuesday afternoon, a "Milwaukee Lion" account showed up on Twitter, and "Milwaukee Lion" has become a trending topic on social media.

Milwaukee Lion

Milwaukee Lion

So where is this possible lion or big cat -- and where did it come from? Those are the big questions still unanswered.

Milwaukee County Zoo officials said Tuesday their animals are accounted for. Milwaukee Public Museum officials said the same -- their stuffed cats are accounted for.

Lions in Wisconsin

Lions in Wisconsin

We're told big cats are not unheard of in Wisconsin. The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources says there have been several mountain lions spotted in the state in the last few years, and they have the photos to prove it.

The DNR advises anyone who sees a wild cat should contact authorities. Do not try to approach or capture the animal.

If this is a mountain lion, also known as a cougar or puma, DNR officials say attacks are very rare. There have only been a handful of deaths in the United States in the last 100 years.

But the large cats have been known to wander. One was found in the middle of Chicago a few years ago.

If you see a large cat -- you're asked to call police immediately.

As of 9:30 p.m. Tuesday, an MPD spokesman said: "The 'lion' remains at large."

Monitor FOX6 News and for updates on this developing story.

Google Map for coordinates 43.054922 by -87.959963.


  • Fred

    Maybe he’s checking out the area where his great great grandparents used to live when Washington park was the zoo. The poor cat is just exploring where he came from.

  • DC

    Bunch of slick talking keyboard bandits, everyone on the north side doesn’t deserve the shytty comments..
    Easy to type tough in the comfort of their living rooms

  • BDS

    Am I the only one that finds it odd that a big cat was reportedly spotted near a street named “Garfield”?

  • bill

    We already look bad with this mayor& governor & killings….now it’s a cat walking in the hood…that Must be sum gud shi…wasting your tax money this bull….they can’t even fix potholes..I’m movin bac home..this not the state for me…

  • just an old person

    Can only hope that subsequent update reads: Gentle Lion Giant found. Determined to have been illegally purchased by drug gang banger as a pet. Pet escaped brutal conditions snatching gang bangers gold necklace – lead to police apprehension through DNA evidenve – lion in good condition & available to good home. Gang banger charged with cruelty to animal – DA hopeful that as gang banger has extensive record- maybe a judgr that likes animals will not releasd on low bai!!!!!!!!

  • Leader12

    As a precautionary measure, police are painting end zones, and putting up field goal posts to deter lions from getting too close.

  • Marlene Jones

    I watched the footage on the news tonight. That was clear and easy to see this was a lion. I bet some idiot smuggled it in as a cub and had it in a cage and it got loose. No one will ever own up to it. Be careful people.

  • Amy

    I sure hope they checked with all the wildlife sanctuary too! Cause the big cat could of got out a sanctuary somewhere towards Kenosha or Racine Area!

  • Dequon Taylor

    I hope people want kill the lion and i prayed that the lion would get away from Milwaukee to a safe habitatt as posible.

  • Lovely lovejoy

    U never know it could be someone’s pet cause if I had enough money I would buy one but be more responsible. It’s possible

  • Mich

    Honestly that looks like a mountain lion, not an African lion. Head looks to small. (And before the trolls chime in, no I’m no expert, but have lived in Texas, Florida and now in wa. State where they are abundant and on the news all the time for showing up at parks, backyards etc) he may have just wandered too far, or on the move to a new home and just passing thru .

    • jacki sandberg

      Looks more like a female African lioness, they have a smaller frame than the male lions.
      Wouldn’t doubt that someone purchased it online as a cub & it just got too big to handle so they let it loose in Washington Park…

  • NO Trolley

    Could be Mayor McTrolley’s new anti-crime campaign? He’s desperate to win re-election next Spring.

  • Tim C.

    The video footage shown here looks like a large bobcat. The tail is stubby. But it wouldn’t surprise me if there was a mountain lion that had slipped into the city, or even an African lion someone was trying to keep as a pet. There are more mountain lions in the state than the DNR accounts for, and young males have been known to travel long distances. You’d be surprised how close to residential areas they can live, without being seen.

    • jacki sandberg

      Not a Bobcat, they are much smaller with more tuffs of fur on them, plus they’re striped and this animal was plain furred. Looks more like a female African lioness.

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