Tag: panthera leo

Manly, Heroic Ex-NFL Player Kills Puma For Fun, Cries About Backlash

Derek Wolfe is a badass.

The 295-lb former NFL lineman recently got a license to kill mountain lions, so when he heard about a puma that was “terrorizing” a Colorado community by existing near it, he packed his weapons of war, rounded up his hounds and set off, trailing testosterone like a beefed up Jim Corbett gone to deliver justice to the Champawat tiger.

First he spoke to a local homeowner, who had an ominous warning for him.

“And when we had talked to the landowner, they said, ‘Hey, we have house cats. And the cats are acting weird.’

No doubt the cats were agitated and wanted to get out there to cause havoc with their feline brother by existing and eating stuff. The cats would have to be dealt with later.

Arriving at the scene, Wolfe (what a badass name) found the remains of a recently-killed deer and knew the evil mountain lion hadn’t reformed its ways. By continuing to exist despite the discomfort of people in the area, and continuing to eat, the defiant cougar was practically asking to be hunted down and killed.

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Moving downwind of the fearsome predator so that it wouldn’t smell the pheromonal cloud of machismo that permanently surrounds him, Wolfe began climbing. The ascent was exhausting — not only is the 6’5″ Wolfe almost 300 pounds, but he was also carrying his sword, his health elixirs and his Bow of Righteous Smiting, a 1,000-DPS legendary weapon he obtained after slaying the Goblin King of Dreadmoore. Wolfe was carrying more than 400 pounds up the slope when he caught sight of the puma and did what men of testicular fortitude do: he released the hounds, who cornered the cat and chased it up a tree.

Then, with righteous fury, Wolfe drew his bow and killed — excuse me, “harvested” — the mountain lion, whose species is notoriously averse to conflict with humans and has killed fewer people in a century than dogs do in a week. But what are a few inconvenient facts between friends, amirite?

When Wolfe descended the treacherous slope with the corpse of the mighty cat like Geralt of Rivia toting the trophy from a monster hunt, the villagers applauded and sang songs of his bravery, then feasted in his honor.

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Derek Wolfe, conqueror. Credit: Derek Wolfe/Instagram

But all was not well, for when Wolfe posted the manly photos of himself posing manfully with the corpse of the big not-quite-big cat, a contingent of insignificant peons criticized him on Instagram for killing an animal that was allegedly “just surviving.”

So Wolfe did what men of his stature do, and went on Tucker Carlson’s show to cry about the rodential men and women nipping at his heels.

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Wolfe on Carlson’s TV show. Credit: Fox News

It is said that the combined testosterone of Wolfe and Carlson created a vortex of badassery that threatened to spark untameable hair and muscle growth in anyone who ventured too close. Female assistants had to be ushered out of the studio before the segment began, and the lesser men manning the cameras had to sign waivers absolving Wolfe and Carlson of blame if they were transformed into hulking man-beasts by the combined presence of the former lineman and the scion of a TV dinner empire.

“I’ve been through some tough training camps, brother, but this hunt was –  man – it beat me up bad. I was beat up bad. I’m all cut up and scraped up. I was in full-body cramps [and] barely made it up there,” Wolfe told Carlson.

Wolfe proceeded to regale Carlson with tales of how dangerous mountain lions are. Puma concolor, the scientific name for the species, is responsible for a whopping 27 deaths in the last century. That’s one person every four years, and most of those people triggered the confrontations by getting too close to puma cubs or cornering the animals. By comparison, dogs kill 25,000 people a year via attacks, and another 25,000 by spreading disease, the latter mostly in third-world countries. Cows killed 655 Americans over a nine-year period from 1999 to 2007. More than 40,000 Americans are killed in car crashes annually.

And while you’re 25 times more likely to be killed by a tornado than a shark, there were five times as many fatal shark attacks (144) in the US over the past century compared to fatal mountain lion attacks.

In other words, pumas rank extremely low on the list of potential dangers to people, despite their size and their superficial resemblance to much more dangerous African lions. Pumas/mountain lions, also known as catamounts and cougars, actively avoid humans and try to steer clear of conflict with people. When they kill a deer or even a pet, it’s not because they’re “terrorizing” communities — it’s because they’re obligate carnivores who need to eat meat to survive.

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A mountain lion. Credit: Nicky Pe/Pexels

Wolfe explained that it’s important to “tree” mountain lions in order to do recon on them and make sure they’re appropriately big and impressive-looking.

“Those full-grown males will kill kittens as well, they’ll kill kittens to get the females to go back into heat,” Wolfe said, confusing terms and the dominance behavior of African lions with American pumas, which are not the same species. “It’s important to manage that herd, right? You have to manage every population of animal out here, especially mountain lions. So we got the dogs on ’em.”

Who knew cats were herd animals? Who knew pumas had decided to give up their solitary lifestyles and live in prides? Who knew former NFL linebackers arbitrarily killing random pumas qualifies as ‘managing a population’? Someone call the wildlife biologists so they can rewrite their field guides!

Despite his ability to scale mountains and slay (mountain) lions, Wolfe was wounded by the backlash when he posted photos of himself with his “harvest.”

“I can’t believe what’s happening to me…They’ve had 200 calls to Colorado Parks and Wildlife trying to turn me in like I did something wrong,” Wolfe complained. “I’ve been harassed.”

Disclaimer: Since this is the internet, and this post is bound to bring in readers unfamiliar with PITB and the fact that we’re sarcastic jerks, allow us to state for the record that Wolfe did not kill the Goblin King of Dreadmoore, does not own the legendary Bow of Righteous Smiting, and we’re not exactly sure if the villagers in the unidentified rural Colorado community threw a feast in Wolfe’s honor after he returned with the corpse of the cat that had been “terrorizing” their community. I mean, they probably feasted him, but we haven’t confirmed it.

Lion Cubs From Ukraine Find A Safe Home In Minnesota Sanctuary

As the brilliant but depressing Pride of Baghdad documented in horrific detail, war isn’t just hard on humans, it’s hell on animals too.

The real-life lions in that drama were left to fend for themselves when American and coalition aircraft began pounding Baghdad in 2003, and their harrowing journey began when an errant missile literally opened a path for them to walk right out of the otherwise abandoned zoo.

As Russian soldiers began pouring over the border into Ukraine and Moscow’s missiles and artillery struck population centers earlier this year, Ukrainian activists sought to avoid a similar fate for their animals and worked on getting wildlife out of the zoos and the country, but there was only so much capacity at sanctuaries in countries like neighboring Poland.

At the same time, remaining in Ukraine was untenable. After Russian forces suffered a series of humiliating ground defeats to a Ukrainian counteroffensive — fueled by weapons systems and tactical intelligence from the US and other NATO countries — Russian President Vladimir Putin has ordered heavy and sustained missile strikes on civilian targets and critical infrastructure in already war-torn Ukraine.

One of his goals is to completely destroy the Ukrainian power grid via missile attacks on coal and gas plants as well as electricity substations, perhaps believing Ukraine might give up its opposition as its population freezes during the region’s harsh winters. The attacks have reached far into Ukraine, hitting the capital of Kyiv and cities like Lviv, which is more than 1,000 km from Russian territory, and some missiles have even disrupted power to neighboring Moldova. The Ukrainian people have not given up despite already enduring months of Russian artillery shelling, occupation and brutality.

But without electricity or reliable access to basics like clean water, caring for the remaining animals has become an impossibility as most people struggle just to keep warm, fed and hydrated.

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One of the cubs rescued from Ukraine, now living at The Wildlife Sanctuary in Sandstone, Minnesota. Credit: The Wildlife Sanctuary

As a result, a quartet of lion cubs born several months into the war had to endure an epic, 36-hour journey that took them from Ukraine to Poland and finally to Sandstone, Minnesota, where they’re easing into their permanent home at The Wildlife Sanctuary. The facility is a non-profit and entirely funded by private donations, which means it’s not open to the public. Animals aren’t put on display, and their enclosures are built entirely for them, not for the benefit of visitor sight lines.

The lion cubs, who are all orphans, have already been indelibly impacted by the war.

“These cubs have endured more in their short lives than any animal should,” said Meredith Whitney of the International Fund for Animal Welfare, which facilitated the transport of the young cats some 5,000 miles from Ukraine to the central US.

The cubs, all between four and five months old, are named Taras, Stefania, Lesya and Prada. Taras is male while the others are female.

“We’ve cared for 300 big cats at TWS and are acutely aware of the trauma many big cats around the world experience,” said Tammy Thies, the sanctuary’s founder. “From the moment IFAW reached out to request our partnership, we knew these cubs had found their forever home at our sanctuary. They have a custom, open space to explore and soft grass or hay to rest their tired bodies on. Because of the generosity of our supporters, we can provide lifelong care to big cats at our sanctuary.”

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Bottle babies: The cubs are all between four and five months old and were not weaned before they were orphaned. Credit: The Wildlife Sanctuary

 

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Pride of Baghdad is a 2006 graphic novel based on the true story of four lions who escaped Baghdad Zoo during coalition airstrikes in 2003. It’s poignant, beautifully illustrated and wonderfully told, but also harrowing and deeply upsetting.