Wednesday, April 10, 2024
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Man claims he was attacked by lion, saved by bear

The California Department of Fish and Game says it can’t substantiate a hiker’s story that he was attacked by a mountain lion — and defended by a bear– in Northern California, but the 69-year-old outdoorsman sticks by his story, the Paradise Post reports.

In his version, Robert Biggs of Paradise, Calif., says a mountain lion pounced on him in a wilderness area above Whiskey Flats on Monday near where he had been observing a bear, a yearling and a newborn bear.

Biggs tells the Post that the lion grabbed his backpack with all four paws and held on, even after he struck it with a pick. Moments later, he claims, the bear intervened and drove off the lion.

The Fish and Game folks, worried about public safety and the condition of a protected species (the lion!), are clearly underwhelmed by Biggs’ tale.

Here is a statement from DFG public information officer, Harry Morse:

The attack reported by Mr. Biggs is so far unsubstantiated. DFG has no current plans to pursue a lion that Biggs claimed he injured with a pick during the fight. Warden (Jos) Brennan found no physical evidence to substantiate an attack on the clothes or any injury consistent with a lion attack from last Monday. Blood was found on his backpack. We took a small sample and we will process the blood on the backpack at the Fish and Game Wildlife Investigation Labratory. The blood samples are en route to the Lab. It takes a day to process so the results may not be available until Monday.

Patrick Foy, also with the DFG, tells the Post that there have been only 16 verified mountain lion attacks from 1890 to 2007, none of them in Butte County, where Paradise is located.

Biggs, speaking to the newspaper minutes after the visit from a DFG warden, says he is sticking with his story. He notes that mountain lions are a protected species and says the DFG is “worried about it getting hurt more than anything else.”

Fish and Game’s Morse tells On Deadline on Thursday that if a mountain lion is attacking people, that’s a public safety issue and the department needs to track down the animal.

Foy noted that Biggs claims to have survived mountain lion attacks three times in his life but said there is no official report of such attacks, the Post reports.

The newspaper says Biggs is no fan of the DFG, calling them “the Gestapo.”

We’ll keep an eye on the story and cry “lion” or “wolf” as warranted.

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