LEWISBURG, W.Va. – Using a video camera and raw chicken, state officials hope to learn whether the king of the jungle is prowling the woods of West Virginia.
Bow hunter Jim Shortridge believes he saw a full-grown, male African lion weighing between 250 and 300 pounds at the foot of Cold Knob Mountain earlier this month. The state Division of Natural Resources confirmed that at least one other person has reported seeing the lion.
Using a camera normally employed to catch people dumping trash illegally, the state Department of Environmental Protection has joined with Greenbrier County Animal Control Officer Robert McClung and exotic animal expert Jim Forga to see if they can substantiate the sightings.
Twenty pounds of raw chicken left on the site last week were devoured, but McClung said that doesn't prove the lion's existence.
"Anything could have eaten that," he said.
If officials do spot the lion on videotape, they may set a bear trap for the animal. If caught, it would be turned over to Forga, who runs Tiger Mountain Refuge in Rainelle, a shelter for exotic animals.