Travel Surprise: Hunting A Lion in Milwaukee

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While in Milwaukee recently to cover PGA golf and a local art museum, I expected to find the stereotypical elements of beer, bratwurst and summer festivals. Constant reports of a wild African predator prowling local neighborhoods was unexpected bonus.

When a shaky, grainy cellphone video of a lion (above) strolling through a north side Milwaukee neighborhood broke, it was initially received as a fake – Brew Town’s 21st century version of that famous 1967 debunked Bigfoot footage. Still, the video went viral while reports kept coming in of a very large animal prowling the city’s streets.

The Milwaukee County Zoo was not missing a lion. Maybe it was a big dog. Maybe it was an oversized cougar that came to town from the north woods. But, it certainly couldn’t be a proper, full size lion. It’s impossible in a busy city of more than 600,000 people for a big cat from the African plains.

Related: Art Museum Turns Challenge into Masterpieces

Apparently, it isn’t. Multiple Milwaukee media reports say a police officer saw the animal, and it’s not a joke anymore. The game is a foot. Armed cops are not only taking the reports seriously, but pinpointing the precise neighborhood the lion (and perhaps a cub) are calling home.

The official reports use the term “lion like animal,” but that’s a lion. Name another animal that looks like a lion. It’s pretty distinctive. It’s not like a fat gopher is lumbering block to block and somebody with Glaucoma caught a squint of it. 

So, if you’re scoring along at home, as I write this, there are heavily armed police officers and members of the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources hunting a lion on the streets of Milwaukee. There’s a region of the city currently on lockdown until the morning when expert trackers will arrive and continue the hunt by daylight.

I can’t beat a story like that today, so I give up. I’m packing it in and watching the updates roll. Once this insanity is over, I’ll patiently wait for someone to spot a “hippo like animal” tap-dancing in Winnipeg.