Thursday, August 25, 2016

Fayette Factor: New Mystery Felid Sightings

The Fayette Factor is alive and well on the cryptozoological front. The Summer of 2016 in the USA has experienced an intriguing run of Giant Snake reports (Wessie in Maine), animal attacks, and more.

La Fayette, Walker County, Georgia, of course, receives its name from the Marquis de Lafayette (1757-1834) and inherits all the "little enchantments" due it from that moniker.

This summer a series of mystery cat encounters have visited themselves upon La Fayette, Georgia. Above is the North LaFayette Elementary School, where the felid was seen.

[Small town, small county newspapers tend to not archive their content. Therefore, large parts of the sighting data is archived here for research purposes.]

The July 2016 article places this newest Georgia cryptid sighting in La Fayette.
Wildlife official investigating possible mountain lion sightings in LaFayette
Posted on Jul 27, 2016
by Josh O'Bryant
A LaFayette school teacher on Tuesday [July 26, 2016] told police he saw two large mountain lions off the city’s four-lane bypass.
According to police reports, high school teacher Cody Lee said he spotted the mountain lions near the intersection of Warthen Street, Round Pond Road and the bypass (U.S. Highway 27 Business) about 6 p.m. on Tuesday, July 26.
Lee said he was stopped at the red light on Round Pond Road when he saw them emerge from the woods and cross Warthen Street to another patch of woods from Oak Park subdivision toward North LaFayette Elementary. At this point, he said, he recognized they were mountain lions because they had long thick tails that arched upward. He said the animals then crossed Warthen and reentered the woods, heading north.
Lee posted about it on his Facebook page...Police searched the area and plan to place trail cameras in the area.
Since the news broke about a mountain lion sighting in the Dogwood Circle subdivision, several residents have contacted the Messenger reporting seeing mountain lions recently and in the past.
Lee said he was taking food to his mother when the incident occurred.
Lee said he called animal control, which took the call very seriously.
He said the situation was frightening as the two animals were heading toward the playground where his daughter goes to school.
The sighting lasted 3-4 seconds, he said.
“They were moving pretty good, right into the woods,” he said.
Lee said he initially thought the animals were deer, then maybe two dogs, but they were rather large with long thick tails.
Lee said it happened so fast, he did not have time to reach for his phone to take a picture and he probably would not have thought to call animal control about the situation if he had not been seeing he reports of mountain lions in the area.

Josh O'Bryant ran an update recently, on August 5, 2016..

A state wildlife official is continuing the investigation into possible mountain lion sightings in LaFayette.
Josh Aldridge, a wildlife technician with the Department of Natural Resources, met with North LaFayette Elementary School principal Sandra Morrison early Thursday morning, Aug. 4, at the school.
Early Wednesday morning, Aug. 4, [2016] Morrison reported seeing a wild animal she believed to be a mountain lion walking in front of the school, in the vehicle lane where students are dropped off and picked up.
Morrison told police the animal was a yellowish-tan color and bigger than a house cat, but smaller than a German shepherd and described the tail of the animal to be as long as her forearm.
Aldridge said he investigated the area Thursday morning, but the ground was too dry to find any evidence of a paw print.
“We are trying to stay on top of this,” Aldridge said. “We are working on trying to figure this out. We would love to give a definitive answer, but cannot at this time.”
Aldridge said he believes Morrison did in fact see something, but isn’t convinced it was a mountain lion based on the description she gave.
There was no surveillance footage available, as the cameras at the school were not fixed on the car lane where Morrison spotted the animal.
Aldridge said this could be a case of mistaken identity, as these sightings occur throughout the United States. But that doesn’t mean DNR isn’t taking the matter seriously, he said.
Aldridge also investigated the area where LaFayette High School teacher Cody Lee said he spotted two mountain lions at Warthen Street in LaFayette .
Lee said he spotted the mountain lions near the intersection of Warthen Street, Round Pond Road and the bypass (U.S. Highway 27 Business) about 6 p.m. on Tuesday, July 26.
Aldridge said he was unable to find any solid paw prints around the area of Lee’s sighting as well due to the dry conditions of the ground.
Aldridge said DNR has received various trail camera pictures of what people feel might be the elusive animal, but none of the photographs are tangible enough evidence to determine if it is in fact a mountain lion rather than a large cat or a bobcat.
Morrison told Aldridge she is using this incident to educate the students at North LaFayette Elementary on wildlife and how to approach wildlife in general, including domesticated animals as well.
Aldridge does not discount what Morrison or Lee witnessed, but isn’t 100 percent certain on what the two educators saw.
DNR regional supervisor and game manager Chuck Waters said DNR is taking the matter seriously and working with local law enforcement, especially LaFayette police Capt. Stacey Meeks, on any and all reported sightings.
Waters said DNR is in regular contact with Meeks, who is keeping DNR informed of each sighting reported to law enforcement.
Later on Thursday, August 6, 2016, the animal was spotted again, out a window of the same school. A teacher says she and at least one student saw a big cat on the school grounds Thursday, heading down Indiana Street.
Thanks to Paul Cropper of Australia for alerting us to this bit of name-creature news. 

1 comment:

SJ Reidhead said...


Back in 1997 or so, my father and I were driving home from the parents' mountain house, straight into a tornado (which I did not get to see). We were on Hwy 107 between Mountain Rest and the NC state line. The tornado paralleled us. Branches were flying. I narrowly missed a tree being uprooted. What shocked me was watching a mountain lion running parallel to the car, for a good half mile. I would have been about 160 miles from La Fayette. That was years ago, but considering their territorial range, and the national forest between the two areas, I don't doubt they're been seen around that area.

In 1982 I was covering my first shuttle launch. The night of the launch, I had access to the press site via the missile range. I ended up lost, and very close to the back side of the launch platform in the middle of the wildlife refuge. A panther ran out in front of me. Coming from Florida, I knew how rare they were, and what a remarkable experience it was to see one - alive.