‘Lion’ latest: Source says tracks photographed, confirming large cat with retractable claws

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MILWAUKEE -- Milwaukee police continue to investigate sightings of the possible "Milwaukee lion." Police on Friday, July 31st were called out to Greenfield, and then Menomonee Falls. This, as a source tells FOX6 News there's clear evidence a big cat is roaming around the city.

Roz Meade often takes her dogs Ricky and Lucky for walks along the Oak Leaf Trail in Greenfield.

Oak Leaf Trail in Greenfield

Oak Leaf Trail in Greenfield

"I live around the corner, and they love coming here," Meade said.

On Friday morning, police investigated a report of a possible lion in the area.

"I heard it was on the north side. I didn't know it got to this area. That's interesting," Meade said.

Shortly after the sighting in Greenfield -- police were called out to Menomonee Falls.

On Friday evening, there were reports of a lion sighting near General Mitchell International Airport.

So far, police haven't found anything.

But sources tell FOX6 News there is reason to believe there is a big cat roaming Milwaukee -- and police are taking this seriously -- investigating each and every possible sighting.

FOX6 News is learning tracks have been photographed, confirming a large cat with retractable claws. The prints had no claw marks -- like prints from a coyote or big dog would.

Animal tracks

Animal tracks

An official tells FOX6 News two police officers and a DNR warden saw the creature too. All agree it was a large cat -- such as a mountain lion or an African lion.

These sightings have some members of the public on edge, others amused, and officials standing by.

A source tells FOX6 News if the creature is an African lion that was kept as a pet, it is probably extremely hungry, but likely not a great hunter. This means the animal would most likely be scavenging for food.

This past Wednesday, July 29th, FOX6 News learned officials were using live traps in an effort to locate the possible Milwaukee lion. Karen Sparapani, the executive director at the Milwaukee Area Domestic Animal Control Commission (MADACC) said an undisclosed number of traps were set, to be monitored by professionals.

Tranquilizer gun belonging to MADACC

Tranquilizer gun belonging to MADACC

"We are putting in food that would attract even a wild animal, like some summer sausage and some McNuggets," said Sparapani.

This, as a group of YouTube filmmakers from Chicago were in Milwaukee to join those looking for the possible big cat.

Milwaukee police ask anyone who spots what they believe could be a lion or big cat to call them immediately. DO NOT approach or try to capture the animal on your own.

Milwaukee police have taken calls regarding the possible Milwaukee lion all week -- and again, they have investigated each report.

Last weekend, officers took part in a 15-hour search -- responding to the area near 30th and Fairmount on Saturday night, July 25th. There, an MPD sergeant saw what could have been "a large, wild cat."

The search extended into Sunday morning.

Search for possible Milwaukee lion

Search for possible Milwaukee lion

Officers were focused on the area near 30th and Fairmount, and 30th and Cameron -- near Lincoln Creek Parkway.

On Sunday morning, officers held a brief news conference.

Officials said after the possible lion was spotted, it ventured off into some thick vegetation -- and may have gone outside their containment perimeter.

Police said they checked and re-checked the area -- but were not able to get another sighting of the "big cat."

"From my understanding, it was a 100% confirmation that it was a lion-like animal. They know it`s a cat-like animal -- could be a young African lion or could be a mature mountain lion/cougar species. Unfortunately we weren`t able to keep visibility on it long. It went into some thick vegetation," MPD Lt. Paul Formolo said Sunday.

Search for possible Milwaukee lion

Search for possible Milwaukee lion

Officers began sweeping the ravine near 31st and Cameron.

"We were trying to flush it out in an area that was advantageous for us," Lt. Formolo said.

A K9 unit was brought in to help.

There was also a zoologist on hand for the nearly 15-hour search.

"The information we`re getting is the animal is stressed. It`s frightened -- so it could just bed down and not move or it`s slipped through our containment and trying to stay away from us," Lt. Formolo said.

The very first call for the possible Milwaukee lion came in on July 20th.

Milwaukee Lion

Possible Milwaukee Lion

Monitor FOX6 News and FOX6Now.com for updates on this developing story.

23 comments

  • Pam

    So, are we talking TWO cats now? I saw the cougar in Greenfield several years ago, even called 911. It would be amazing if it stayed in the same area. I assumed it was the cougar who made it down to Illinois and was shot years later:

    http://horiconbirds.com/news15/milwaukeelion2015.07.26.html

    Whether it’s a cougar or a lion, it’s still very dangerous to approach. Both cougars and lions can and do kill adult humans. It’s best to report it and lock yourself in your car or house.

    • hunter

      well pam how do you know the one you saw was the one killed in illinois,also does the cat have a sensor in its brain that tells them to eat just adult humans and not younger humans?

      • Pam

        I never said that I knew for sure that it was the one killed in Illinois, and I never said that cougars don’t kill younger humans. My point was that they are big enough to kill and eat adults, and so adults should not assume that they’re safe just because of their size.

  • jeanne furrer

    come on summer sausage or mc nuggets, I would use raw hamburger its a domesticated wild animal, who ever raised this lion probably feed it raw meat, i can not believe it has not been caught yet.

    • s holmes

      With cheapf flynn on the case “I” can believe its not been caught. Besides he probably gave orders that if it ran to just let it go.

  • Wilson

    Sure Anne, now if you can just close your eyes, click your heels together 3 times and repeat after me “There’s no place like home” you will end up in your bedroom back in Kansas!!!! Say hi to Auntie Em from me when you get there!!

    • Anne

      Wilson, we seen the cat before it was even mentioned on the news. My fiance lost his grandmother a few hours after we left st francis which is why we didn’t call authorities.

    • Pam

      I don’t know why people feel the need to ridicule those who’ve seen the cougar. Everyone’s seen the cell phone video, and the cops saw it too. I saw one near Milwaukee years ago, as I mentioned earlier, and I’m a wildlife photographer. Whether it exists or not isn’t in question anymore. It’s how it’ll end for the cougar(s) — humanely or not.

  • divablue

    I’m not sure why it’s so hard to believe. Think of how many deer are in our area..and we don’t see them very often as many as there are. There’s ONE large cat. Doesn’t seem so far fetched that it can hide and move around. Imagine trying to track a deer or a house cat that has escaped. How many people lose their dogs and they can’t find them. Just a thought. It’s just going to take the right time and location to get it and hopefully no one ends up hurt in the process.

  • hunter

    are you people for real? take out a map and look at all the places the cat was seen, 116 and morgan, mitchel field, menoninee falls,there is no way the cat can make it to these areas to only be seen once.to the lady that turned around to see what it was , go back to the hospital , MENDOTA, there is no way you are going to sneak up on a cat without it seeing you

  • bill

    From east to north to south side..how is this cat eatin?…haven’t attack anyone? What itonly comes out when no one else around….

  • iz

    Its a hoax…NOT. I think some of your viewers are absolute idiots. I gave a tip to a different news channel. Goodbye

  • ironfis

    I don’t want to discredit those who have seen the lion/cougar. However I do find it strange that there are all these sightings and no video footage or pictures of it especially in today’s society where people have their phones on them at all times. I think that is why some feel it’s a hoax. There should be more evidence than just a video that wasn’t that clear to begin with.

  • Wilson

    Here is Pam’s comment:
    I don’t know why people feel the need to ridicule those who’ve seen the cougar. Everyone’s seen the cell phone video, and the cops saw it too. I saw one near Milwaukee years ago, as I mentioned earlier, and I’m a wildlife photographer. Whether it exists or not isn’t in question anymore. It’s how it’ll end for the cougar(s) — humanely or not.

    Yeah Pam so everytime someone says they saw the lion we should just believe them without verification from a credible sourceand send resources to the location to check it out??? So this lion is in Greenfield and Menomonee Falls at basically the same time??? How is that possible?? Or maybe there are 2 or 3 or 4 lions roaming the area??? Somebody couldn’t just call in a fake siting??? Wake up and smell the coffee….

  • Damon

    Man if you all don’t gone home with this lying bs. Now everyone from Milwaukee knows that the picture is not anywhere in Milwaukee. Look at the background? Gald to see everyone is putting their energy into spotting the lion and not real crime in your neighborhood

    • Angel

      I;m thinking that maybe this is just a publicity stunt to bring down the crime rate in Milwaukee, although it isn’t very effective. There is no lion everyone. It’s just a stunt just to scare people into not committing crime. It’s just really sad that the government is so desperate to the point that they have to use a highly immature stunt like this. Shame.

  • Donna

    I saw the Lion yesterday night. Coming out of the field before 60th and Good Hope. I thought it was a big dog at first glance. I was driving east. The animal was standing in the right turn lane facing north tail to the south. I was shocked when I looked at the face and realized it was a gigantic cat! Nov 9th and its still out there! I did report it to the police. It’s definitely a lion!

Comments are closed.