I used to attend The Ohio State University in Columbus.. the most exciting thing htat happened during my time there was getting tear-gassed after we kicked Michigan's booty... I'd bet $10 that there are at least a few foolhardy OSU students out looking for this little(BIG) fella'


If it's a lion, Ohio hopes it's a fraidy-cat
By Dennis Cauchon, USA TODAY

In the suburbs of Columbus, Ohio's most populous city, a lion sleeps tonight. At least, some residents hope so.
The reported sighting of a lion in the woods Monday night has sent this affluent commuter town of 34,000 into a tizzy.

Police aren't sure it really was a lion. Several dozen police officers on Tuesday searched a 1-square-mile area on foot and by helicopter. All they found were deer tracks and a big dog.

"I'm the first person to disbelieve these kinds of reports," says Gahanna Police Lt. Jeff Spence. "But we do have three credible, consistent, independent sightings."

The witnesses say they saw a 300- to 400-pound cat with a low-slung tail. The animal appeared agile and walked low to the ground. It had no mane.

A Columbus police officer was the first to report seeing the lion, in daylight, at 7:30 p.m. A trucker says he saw it at 9:30 p.m. Railroad workers say they saw it about midnight.

The sightings occurred in a wooded area near Port Columbus International Airport. Ten other sightings were reported after the initial reports, but police discounted them.

Mountain lions, which can weigh about 150 pounds, were hunted to near-extinction or driven from the eastern USA more than 100 years ago. But sightings are sometimes reported in mountainous areas of Pennsylvania and West Virginia about 200 miles from Columbus. Game officials generally dismiss such reports for lack of solid evidence or consider the animals escaped pets.

People occasionally encounter mountain lions in western states, even in heavily populated areas in the foothills near Los Angeles, Denver and other cities. A mountain lion fatally mauled a man and severely injured a woman in January south of Los Angeles.

Zoos and animal breeders in the Columbus area say none of their lions is missing. Spence says animal experts told him that the lion, if there is one, is likely to travel at night and avoid people.

But some Gahanna residents were being cautious.

Chris Tidwell, 52, owner of a wallpaper shop, kept her front door closed Tuesday. "We're all amused by the lion, but why take chances?" she says.

But others love the idea of a local lion rather than fear it.

"I hope it's true," says Jordan Stull-Barnes, 19, who works at Jersey Mike's Subs. "It's the most exciting thing that's happened here in a long time."