Sunday, August 23, 2009

MONSTERQUEST: Tigers in the Suburbs

History Channel -- Original Air Date: 8/26/09

A few weeks ago, MQ tracked feral dogs; this week the show investigates the possibility that big black cats -- cougars, panthers, or something else -- may be prowling the suburbs near eastern US big cities.  The show features the usual compelling eyewitness stories, but scientists suggest that misidentification bay be responsible for most of the sightings -- black labs, perhaps, or cats smaller than the 150# animals reported.  But there is some chance, too, that pet big cats -- leopards or other wild species -- may have been set loose by neglectful owners.  MQ sends a set of hunters and trackers to set up camera tracks and try to find the animals.  The hunters use "call blasting" to try to lure cougars out of the woods, without success.  Meanwhile scientists test captive big cats' DNA to see if they've become so inbred that they may be unstable,  Nearly half the captive cats prove to be inbred -- which could make them more aggressive.  The MQ hunters find some possible claw marks and tracks, but only game animals on their cameras.  They theorize that it's likely that the cats reported are former pets set loose.  Still, the show has come up short again, with lots of stories and -- sadly -- no solid proof for its theories.

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