[Note: This is a version of an article that went viral on the internet in 2016. It even earned a “hoax” designation from snopes.com. Many people believed it despite clear evidence that it was written in jest.]
Let this article be a warning to all. There are unkown unknowns out there!
Have the Forests of the Alpine Lakes Wilderness become the “Tiger Woods”?
An in-depth report by Investigative Reporter Cliff Gifford and the Paradox University Department of Cryptozoology (PUDOC).
CLE ELUM, WA (Paradox University News Wire)– Seamus O’Toole came to America to realize his dream, but in the dark forests of the wild North Cascades, he found instead a nightmare. His dream was to work and travel in the wilderness, experiencing the beauty and wonder of the wild places he’d longed for since he was a young lad on his parents’ mule ranch in Ireland. His nightmare was a near-fatal enounter with one of the largest predators that walks the earth. A predator that isn’t even supposed to be there.
For the last several years, reports and rumors have been coming from the forests of Washington State’s North Cascades; reports and rumors of sightings of tigers lurking in the once-benign mountains. Hikers and other recreationists as well as forestry workers have reported glimpses of large striped cats, droppings, tracks and even hair, mostly in the Alpine Lakes Wilderness. At least two missing hikers are unaccounted for and several horses and mules have been allegedly attacked and eaten by the tigers.
While government biologists have been hesitant to confirm the presence of tigers, sightings have increased and some biologists have admitted privately that they are convinced there is an unknown number of Siberian tigers living, breeding and feeding in the mountains of Washington State.
Independent wildlife biologist Sarah Sahara has no doubts and is outspoken on the issue. “People need to be warned that there’s a new player on the wilderness scene,” she said recently at a symposium at the Wild River Institute. “These large cats are right at home in our mountains and even grizzlies are afraid of them.”
When asked how the tigers appeared, Sahara said that over the years, she’s heard from several employees of the Federal Fish and Wildlife Service that two tigers were released near Snoqualmie Pass in late 2000.
“The original tigers were pets,” said Sahara, “purchased as young cubs by a couple from Bellevue.” When the tigers got older, according to the biologist, the couple could no longer control or care from them and began a long search for a new home. “Nobody could take them and the owners were informed that since no home could be found, the tigers had to be destoyed. They were taken into custody by federal wildlife agents and housed in a temporary holding facility pending a legal challenge from the owners.”
Their attempts to delay or stop the killing of the tigers ended when a federal judge ruled against them and okayed the destruction of the cats. “Here’s where the story gets real interesting,” said the biologist. “Three agents were given the unpleasent task of killing the tigers, but apparently couldn’t bring themselves to do it. Instead, they secretly agreed to falsify their report and release the tigers into the wild. They all thought that the tigers wouldn’t survive the winter and that at least they’d die free, so one November night in 2000, they drove the tigers to Snoqualmie Pass and released them in the parking lot at the Pacific Crest Trail trailhead.”
Sahara said that one witness claimed the men had to shoo the tigers into the woods with flares and shotgun blasts. “Apparently, at least one of the tigers had bonded with its keepers and wouldn’t leave.” The men were able to eventually drive off and leave the tigers to their fate.
Fish and Wildlife Service spokespersons declined to comment on this story, saying that it is under investigation now after a recent incident which removed almost all doubt as to the presence of the tigers in our forests.
Earlier this summer, a United States Forestry Service trail crew had a close encounter with a tiger on the Cle Elum Ranger District. It happened at a place called Lemah Crossing, near the popular Pete Lake area in the Alpine Lakes Wilderness Area. This was where Seamus O’Toole lived his nightmare.
“He was crossing Lemah Creek at that point,” said Sledge Foreman, one of the crew leaders, “and the rest of us were already across, encouraging him. Seamus sometimes can be a little slow, and he’s afraid of cold water, so we were all shouting and yelling at him to get his ass in high gear,” said the outspoken Foreman. “Suddenly, there’s loud splashing and motion off to the right and we see this huge tiger loping through the water towards Seamus. I couldn’t believe it. None of us could believe it. Here’s this big, mean lookin’ cat heading for poor Seamus, who’s grinning like an idiot as we’re shouting frantically and trying to warn him.”
What happened next can only be called a miracle, according to Seamus’ older brother Sean, who is also on the crew and was watching the terrible scene unfold from the banks of Lemah Creek. “Seamus is a good brother and friend,” said the Irishman, “but his potato patch is missing a few rows, if you know what I mean. He was kicked in the head by a mule years ago and was never the same, though some say it was an improvement. Anyway, here’s my brother about to get eaten by this massive, wicked, sodding beast and we’re all yelling our lungs out like maniacs. He finally heard the splashing behind him to his left, but turns instead to his right!”
This, said O’Toole, is what saved his brother’s life. “As Seamus turned, the beast leapt at him. My God, I’ve never seen anything like it! Such a huge creature it was and my brother looked so small, but God watches out for the special ones, you know, and now Seamus is living proof of that. As my brother turned and the tiger landed on his back, his pulaski handle [ a pulaski is a special axe-like tool used by Foresty Department personnel for chopping and digging] swung round and smashed into the cat’s ballocks.
“The cat, and I almost felt sorry for him, roared and dropped like a rock into the creek and curled up into a fetal position as Seamus ran splashing to the bank, laughing and crying at the same time. When he was safely ashore, we all started throwing stones at the cat, who dragged itself up and stumbled, soaking wet, into the brush as our rocks thunked on its evil hide.”
As for Seamus, according to crew medic Dusti Foreman, he had only a few minor scratches on his back and was working the next day. When asked why the crew didn’t hike out and report the incident immediately, crew leader Wedge Foreman, who is also a brother of Sledge and Dusti, said
simply, “We still had work to do and we weren’t
going to let some oversized house cat stop us from doing our job”. Dusti Foreman said,“Seamus was fine and the next day remembered only that he’d played with a big, beautiful cat and wondered where it was”.
Sarah Sahara and other biologists viewed the photo taken by a crew member and confirmed that it is a Siberian tiger. “I now think the story about the tiger release is true, as are some other reports, including one where a hiker saw a mother tiger and cubs playing in a meadow near Waptus Lake” said Sahara. “and that really scares me. The original tigers were siblings and they’ve apparently bred now.”
According to biologists, this inbreeding could produce offspring that are mentally and physically defective. What this could mean is that the new tigers may be less able to hunt effectively and more likely to hunt what’s easiest, which means people and their animals. Also, the mental state of the tigers may make them more aggressive and less able to restrain themselves. In a word, the offspring could be insane.
U.S.Forest Department officials declined comment pending the outcome of the Fish and Wildlife investigation, but one was heard to mutter, “I wish the crew had stuck with the talking points instead of talking out of turn.” When asked if some sort of warning should be posted, a Forestry Department source said only that “it’s a dangerous world out there and we can’t post warnings for everything”.
As for the trail crew members, most of them have no qualms about going out again. “We have no qualms about going out again,” said former tiger bait Seamus O’Toole. “I feel like I’ve been given a second leash on life and I don’t intend to let something like bad food in camp stop me.” Seamus’ brother Sean stated that, “I’ve got meself a great big shillelagh and I’ll thrash the **** out of that cat should he come near us again.” Other crew members aren’t so confident, but vow that their work is important enough to merit the risk.
Biologist Sahara is forming a team of scientists to further study the Siberian tigers and monitor the government studies. “In the meantime,” said the biologist, “I’d recommend that hikers and horse riders stay out of the Alpine Lakes until we can confirm how many tigers there are and where they hunt. Nobody wants to wind up as tiger scat on the trail.”
Aricle copyright 2009 by Jon R. Herman