River in pines among rolling green hills with mountains in background.  Montana. Grainy photo of mule and dead mountain lion. Photograph of lion walking through autumn leaves.
 
Grainy photo of mule and dead mountain lion.

Hard to Believe

The Mountain Lion Foundation debunks an old internet hoax.

There's an e-mail story circulating about a Montana couple being saved from a mountain lion attack by their mule. The story "1 Bad Ass" and the accompanying graphic photographs of the mule — reportedly fighting and killing the lion — attempt to convey to a gullible reader that mountain lions are dangerous and attack people and that mountain lions can be defeated by righteous, rough-and-tough hunter types alongside their faithful equine companions. But everything about the story is an outright lie.
  • The Montana couple and their valiant fighting mule are a figment of imagination.
  • The mule is not fighting a lion, but instead grabbing and tossing the dead body of a mountain lion shot by a New Mexico trophy hunter.
  • These same photos (with slightly differing titles and stories) have turned up in numerous incarnations since they first appeared on the internet eight years ago.
Grainy photo of mule and dead mountain lion.

I am sure the party who put this story back into circulation felt they were doing their duty in spreading the word about the Big Bad (lions). Unfortunately for them this action only makes it that much easier to disbelieve anything the lion hunters have to say.

Let's face it. These guys aren't heroic trailblazing individualists, mountain men, explorers, men-of-action. Trophy hunters aren't like those who actually opened the American west for settlement. Nor are they hungry, desperate people trying to put food on the table. These folks are a small, cruel segment of American society who take great pleasure in killing animals. They do it for fun and to get a trophy to brag about.

Regrettably these are also the very people who seem to have a disproportionate amount of influence over the state game commissions which govern the management of America's wildlife. Someday soon — if we are to save America's Lion — this must change. After all, this is the world's greatest democracy and it's time that the decisions which affect our nation's wildlife are made by the majority of its citizens.

Obviously when this mule vs. lion hoax reemerged on the web its proponents intended for it to support their position in support of hunting lions. However if, after reading this story, viewers instead see it for the sick, manipulative propaganda that it truly is, then I guess it will, in the end, have served a useful purpose.

To double check the truth of stories you see on the web go to: http://www.snopes.com