Lion investigator doubts animal is roaming Greenbrier County

By Greg Collard

gcollard@wvpubcast.org 

An exotic animal expert helping in the search for a male African lion in Greenbrier County now doubts it’s on the loose. John Forga has been helping look for a lion since bowhunter Jim Shortridge reported seeing one last week.

“The gentleman (Shortridge) seems real incredible. He doesn’t seem to be a fruitcake at all. But at this point in the game we’re pretty skeptical, because everybody in Greenbrier County is looking over the banks now. Every day that goes on and we can’t spot him, it doesn’t look good as far as being able to locate him. So, yeah, I think we’re a little skeptical now. It’s hard to tell what the gentleman could have seen.” 

Forga runs Tiger Mountain Refuge, a shelter for exotic animals in Rainelle. He has two people who have spent the last three nights in the woods around Cold Knob Mountain listening for the reported lion and trying to lure it with raw chicken. Forga says he’ll have a team spend the next four nights in the area as well.

“In the event that an African lion is walking around out there, it would have had to have come from a zoo, a private collection or from a circus or someone like that. There’s very few places an African lion can turn up from. Actually, we’ve been in contact with everybody around from probably a 400 to 500-mile radius that keeps these sorts of animals, and we’ve yet to be able to find anybody that’s admitted to having anything escape or being turned loose.” 

Forga is working with the Greenbrier County Animal Control office and the state Department of Environmental Protection in trying to locate lion. Forga already has one male African lion that he says weighs about 600 pounds.

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One Comment on “Lion investigator doubts animal is roaming Greenbrier County”

  1. Carol Says:

    How convenient that, prior to the reintroduction, once again, of the State Vet’s Animal Rights handlers’ tired anti-exotic pets bill in Charleston, we hear of a possible sighting of a ‘dangerous’ non-native animal.


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