Late last week, my colleague Aislinn Sarnacki struck “news gold” that had all of us here in the newsroom chuckling. Aislinn’s scoop: A two-headed snapping turtle — a baby, no less — had been discovered in Hudson, not far from Bangor. Among the cool things I learned: The woman who rescued the turtle named the two heads Frank and Stein. Like I said: news gold. So what’s an outdoors editor to do to even up our good-natured in-house story competition? Find a mountain lion, of course. OK, I admit it: The photos were grainy, and may not show an actual mountain lion. But who knows? They might. And when it comes to mountain lion stories in Maine (which isn’t supposed to actually have the big cats roaming around), that’s all it took to get readers fired up.
Another eventful week in Maine. A final hint: Stay tuned. When these odd critter stories start cropping up, others tend to come forward with their own off-beat tales. What’s next? A three-headed deer? Sasquatch walking down Main Street?
We can only hope.
— John Holyoke
When animal lover Kathleen Talbot rescued a baby snapping turtle down the road from her home in Hudson on Monday, she didn’t realize how special the creature truly was. When she brought the turtle home, she cleaned off its tiny dirt-caked body and was shocked to find it had two fully formed heads — and both were giving her a good stare.
Mainers have been reporting mountain lion sightings for years. Some of those “cougars” turn out to be bobcats. Others are dogs. Even large house cats have been mistaken for mountain lions over the years.
This morning, I’ve got another report to pass along. Reader Edwin Ecker Jr. reached out via email over the weekend with his tale.
And unlike many who say they’ve seen a mountain lion, Ecker has photographs to prove — or disprove — his case.
Mainers for Fair Bear Hunting filed the lawsuit against MDIF&W on Tuesday in Portland. The lawsuit alleges that the department acted illegally in its campaign opposing the bear referendum.
“The steep, rocky Cathedral Trail is one of several routes to the top of Katahdin, which, at 5,267 feet in elevation, is Maine’s tallest mountain. Along the way, the trail visits three massive rock formations called Cathedrals, granite towers that almost appear to be manmade.”
“The only way we’ll get a real debate about bear hunting and trapping is to clear the room of reporters and moderators and let the two sides go at each other — a bare-knuckled bear debate.”
On the horizon
On Saturday, John will get to the heart of the state’s age-old debate about mountain lions. He sat down with a federal biologist on Tuesday, and talked about all kinds of cougar myths … including the one that starts something like this: “Biologists don’t want to admit there are mountain lions in Maine because …”
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