Unproven reports of a mountain lion sighting in Southeast Washington spread across a neighborhood listserv, city officials’ e-mails and Twitter late Wednesday night.
The Twitter account for Mayor Vincent C. Gray’s Office of Neighborhood Engagement tweeted a warning at 7:52 p.m. for the Penn Branch area of Southeast: “DANGER — PUBLIC SAFETY ALERT MOUNTAIN LION SPOTTED 3600 BLOCK OF HIGHWOOD DR SE.”
A D.C. police spokesman said officials received calls from media outlets earlier Wednesday asking about the possible presence of a mountain lion, but police had not confirmed any sightings by 11 p.m.
According to this report, two callers to 911 reported the animal Wednesday night.
Then we have this strange “confirmation”;
DC Animal Control officials have confirmed that a mountain lion was seen in Northeast near the new Costco.
No additional information was available about why they confirmed it and what evidence was eventually found. But this article also includes reports of many deer herds moving through the Penn Branch area. Odd. And sure to spark more sightings and possibly a panic.
A similar sighting was reported back in 2011 at nearly the same time of the year. That incident prompted creation of a DC Mountain Lion twitter account. I wonder if that will become active again.
We’ll keep tabs on this story.
UPDATE: (4-Oct-2013) No sign of a cat. Here is an article to update the search.
Scott Giacoppo, vice president of external affairs for the Humane Society, which serves as the District’s animal control agency, said that his workers have investigated calls about mountain lion sightings from two other locations in the District since Wednesday evening. And he wasn’t ruling anything out.
“I am not going to say it’s not a mountain lion,” Giacoppo said.
Still, his crews could find no signs of a mountain lion. No tracks. No droppings. No carcasses of small animals recently consumed. Giacoppo said that over the previous three years — “every October” — his office has looked into sightings of mountain lions in the District. Giacoppo suspects that what people are really seeing are deer or possibly coyotes.