The Lion Speaks Tonight

Concerned over possible reprisals and rampant taxidermy, a broad coalition of wildlife and trademarked animal pitchmen pleaded for calm in the wake of a vicious Jan. 8 attack by a mountain lion that left a Foothill Ranch man dead and a Santa Ana woman clinging to life.

"It's unfair to paint all mountain lions as killers, just as it would be to judge all humans by Jeffrey Dahmer or Ted Nugent," said Grrrrrrrrrr, executive director of Mountain Animals United in Love (MAUL). "While our hearts go out to the victims and families of these brutal attacks, we think it's misguided to blame an entire species for the reprehensible actions of what even the L.A. Times acknowledged was a rogue mountain lion."

In the days following the attacks, one mountain lion has been hunted dead, with some humans calling for additional counterstrikes.

"Nobody wants to see another Leisure World," said Grrrrrrrrrr, referring the shooting, poisoning and shooting-again deaths of rabbits in the spring of 2000 after those creatures were accused of sitting in gardens and nibbling on leaves, their pink noses quivering in that cute way that has delighted children since the dawn of time.

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Speaking in the Pride (Not That Kind of Pride) Room of Rancho Santa Margarita's Red Lion Inn, Grrrrrrrrrr was joined by a veritable who's-what food chain of supporters ranging from Tom and Jerry to a tearful, and recently outed, Snagglepuss, who said between comic sobs, "I hope you never have to explain to your young ones why grandma is mounted behind the bar of the Brea VFW. Exit, stage sorrow."

Far less conciliatory was Tony the Tiger, who mocked calls for wholesale extermination as "just fucking Grrrrreeeat!"

"I've kissed your man asses for years and what did it get me? Three divorces and diabetes!" shouted Tiger, 74. "Listen, we are not going back to the bad old days of the death camps like Lion Country Safari, the Mirage Hotel and Casino and the 1987 Cougar—what a piece of shit!"

Though he thanked Tiger for his "support," Grrrrrrrrrr attempted to distance MAUL from such vitriol. After thanking those on the dais—ranging from the "wise owl to the brave bear to the tender and delicious squirrels"—Grrrrrrrrrr added, "We are a peace-loving group and wish only to live in harmony with our neighbors: the hikers, bikers, stoners, gun nuts, hit men, arsonists, Satanists, survivalists and kids looking to bone really ugly people."

In response to a Bon Appetit reporter's aggressive line of questioning concerning the instinctual carnivorous nature of mountain lions, Grrrrrrrrrr explained, "It's the rare cat that gives in to the siren call of delectable man meat, with just a hint of Gore-Tex."

"You know, 'feeding frenzy' got a bad name ever since the days of Shakey's Bunch of Lunch," he said. "But most lions abhor the very thought of it, much in the same way humans are disgusted by the Hometown Buffet."

Grrrrrrrrrr announced that MAUL will sponsor a series of community outreach programs to educate the public about living in peace with his species, called "Kill the Lyin', not the Lion."

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