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31 July - 1 August, 2014
An large animal captured on camera in front of a Southern California house is not a mountain lion, according to California Department of Fish and Wildlife officials, although experts disagree on what kind of beast does appear on the video. Authorities announced their determination after fears in the city of Norwalk that a mountain lion was roaming the neighborhood. The video dated July 29 shows the animal walking in front of a house in the 11000 block of Tina Street near Orr and Day Road, city spokesman Jeff Hobbs said.
A homeowner reported the animal to be a mountain lion, but Hobbs said it looks more to him like a lion seen at a zoo. Fish and Wildlife officials described the creature as a "large cat."
"Department officials still cannot definitively identify the type of animal," the department said in a statement. "They will continue to investigate."
A department representative visited the neighborhood Friday afternoon, and said he doesn't even think the animal was feline.
"You think it's a mountain lion?" asked Game Warden Don Nelson. "I don't think it is... I think it's an old pit bull dog."
Nelson pointed to the short tail and also said he believed the animal was much smaller than it appeared in the video.
But a wildlife expert with the city of Los Angeles told NBC4 the animal appears to be a lion that may have come from the San Gabriel Mountains and used the San Gabriel River bottom to travel to Norwalk. But opinions differ on whether the caught-on-camera cat is actually a cat.
Martine Colette with the Wildlife Waystation in the Angeles National Forest, who has saved stray mountain lions for decades, said the animal in the video looks more like a dog.
"There are many strange-looking creatures in the world, but I don't believe that one is a mountain lion," Colette said. "The tail should be almost twice as long (to be a lion)."
No matter what kind of animal crept down the Norwalk street, city officials are urging residents to be on the lookout and to call the California Department Of Fish And Wildlife or Southeast Area Animal Control Authority if they see any wild animals.
Norwalk is a suburban city about 15 to 20 miles southeast of downtown Los Angeles.
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