Monday, 7 November 2011

Lion spotted in the Northern Territory
The CFZ's Mike Williams talked about all things big cat on ABC radio today in the wake of this intriguing story:

Authorities in Darwin are on the lookout for a feral lioness, after three reports of a big cat being spotted crossing the Stuart Highway.

The sightings late Sunday night sparked a quick police search and a check at Crocodylus, a local wildlife park just  a few minutes from the scene.

According to the NT News, three cars pulled over while the animal crossed the highway in front of them at Pinelands, a small suburb about 20km from Darwin.

''I often get reports of dingoes in the area, which are a similar colour but a completely different size,'' said a spokeswoman for NT Police.

Police found no trace of the creature.

Chief scientist at Crocodylus, Charlie Manolis, told AAP he took the sightings seriously, but both lions at the park were found to  be secure.

He said that ''not in a gazillion years'' could a lion have  escaped its enclosure and then voluntarily returned and been present when checked.

Manolis said because three different people had reported seeing a lion, it was likely something was roaming around.

''Whether there is a large dog or a beastie out there that looks like a lion, we would like to find out any information about what  it really is,'' he said.

Crocodylus is the only wildlife park in the Northern Territory that houses lions.

Flashback: A lioness escape documented in 1986 in the Northern Territory.  

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