Mountain lion ‘attacks and kills a man’ in Texas as residents are warned to keep children inside amid hunt for killer big cat
- Christopher Allen Whitely, 28, was last seen in the early hours of Wednesday
- His body was found after a search near the Texan city of Lipan, where he lived
- Preliminary autopsy results found he died by animal attack, likely mountain lion
- An interdepartmental effort to locate the animal has now begun, with residents being warned to be aware of their surroundings and keep animals and young children inside at night, when mountain lions hunt
A 28-year-old man has died in Texas after being attacked by a wild animal, thought to be a mountain lion, local authorities said.
Christopher Allen Whiteley was last seen in the early hours of Wednesday morning near Lipan, a city of less than 500 people located 50 miles (80km) south-west of Fort Worth.
Deputies from the Hood County Sheriff’s Office launched a search on Thursday, with investigators revealing on Saturday that they had discovered Whiteley’s body in a wooded area near Lipan.
Christopher Allen Whitely, 28, was found dead after being reported missing near Lipan, Texas. Preliminary autopsy results have found that he died following an animal attack, likely by a mountain lion [Stock image]
ABC news reported that preliminary autopsy results from the Tarrant county medical examiner’s office indicated that Whiteley, who lived in Lipan, had died by animal attack, possibly from a mountain lion.
A trapper from the U.S. Department of Agriculture specializing in ‘tracking and removing’ mountain lions has been enlisted to aid the sheriff’s office in the search for the animal. Texas game wardens are also involved in the efforts.
Hood County Sheriff Roger Deed advised residents not to interfere with the search, urging them to be mindful of their surroundings at all times and to keep young children and animals inside at night.
Hood County Sheriff Roger Deed has advised Lipan residents not to interfere with the search for the mountain lion, urging them to be mindful of their surroundings at all times and to keep young children and animals inside at night, when the predators hunt
Mountain lions primarily hunt after dark. It is not known how many there are in Texas as the unregulated hunting of the species means accurate figures are difficult to produce, according to Reportingtexas.com.
In 2017, The Humane Society of the United States published a report of each state’s mountain lion population but could only provide an estimate for Texas.
It found more than 91million acres of potential habitat, which could support up to 6,267 adult mountain lions – more than in any other state.
It is not known how many mountain lions there are in Texas due to unregulated hunting of the species. While sightings in the north of the state are rare, a lion was spotted this week more than 100 miles (161km) from where Whitely was found. The sighting is not thought to be connected to his death
However, the actual number present is believed to be much smaller due to the lack of mandatory reporting by hunters and trappers.
Confirmed sightings of mountain lions in north Texas are rare, according to The Guardian, which reported that biologists from Texas’ Parks and Wildlife Department had verified a sighting this week on private property in Rowlett, a Dallas suburb more than 100 miles (161km) from where Whitely was found.
Megan Radke, a department spokeswoman, said on Sunday that the department was not connecting the sighting in Rowlett to Whitely’s death.