‘It wasn’t a bobcat’: man who claims to have seen pumas in Birmingham responds to Carole Baskin interview

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In this photo provided by Gail J. Loveman, Zeus, an 11-year-old Maine Coon cat, meets a mountain lion through a sliding glass door in Boulder, Colorado. Loveman, the owner of Zeus, told the Denver Post that she was busy in her home office when she heard a noise and turned to see a young mountain lion on the porch. (AP Photo / Gail J. Loveman)

BIRMINGHAM, Alabama (WIAT) – A man who claimed to have seen a cougar in the Crestwood neighborhood of Birmingham responds to CBS 42 interview with Carole Baskin about the possible sighting of large cats.

William Davis said in an article on Nextdoor in late September that he saw a cougar at Crestwood Mall.

“I’m at True Story Brewing, and I just saw a black puma walking along [the] wall behind Crestwood Mall, ”Davis said on the community’s website. “Huge !!! I was not alone, seen by others too. Watch your critters and your children! Scary!”

CBS 42 interviewed Carole Baskin, CEO of Big Cat Rescue and central figure on the Netflix hit show “Tiger King,” about the potential sighting last week. You can watch this full interview here.

Baskin said it’s possible the cat Davis saw was a puma (more commonly known as a cougar in our area), most people who report such sightings confuse bobcats with other types of felines.

Davis said he wasn’t so sure.

“It wasn’t a bobcat,” Davis said. “I think Ms. Baskin is correct that a lot of people confuse bobcats with other cats. I was raised on PBS and Marty Stouffer and Mutual of Omaha’s wildlife shows.

Davis said other life and career experiences gave him confidence that what he saw was not a bobcat.

“I also worked as a cowboy and fly fishing guide while living in the mountains of New Mexico,” he said. “I lived in a small cabin with no electricity or running water. Every now and then I would see carcasses of pumas prey and hear them screaming at night. I’ve only seen one once, but I assure you I know what they look like, and what I saw… was not a lynx.

Retired wildlife biologist Mitchell Marks has written extensively on native Alabama cats for Outdoor Alabama.

“Alabama has two native cats. The first and largest is the mountain lion, also known as a cougar, fawn, painter, puma, or panther, ”Marks wrote. “Cougars are tawny to greyish brown in color, weigh 75 to 120 pounds, and can grow to about 6.5 feet in length from nose to tail. The population, if it still exists, is scarce within the state. The bobcat is Alabama’s other native cat. It is a much smaller cat with a short tail and spotted fur. Adult body weight normally ranges from 25 to 30 pounds. Despite its small size, it is a formidable predator. However, none of these cats have a black or melanic colored phase.


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