A California man's claim that a mother bear saved him from an attacking mountain lion has attracted the attention of the world's media—but state officials are more than a little skeptical, reports the Paradise Post. Robert Biggs, 69, says he was hiking to do some gold-panning north of Sacramento when he spotted the bear and her two cubs. The lion pounced on him soon afterward, but the bear came to the rescue, tearing the cat away from him and forcing it to flee, says Biggs, who has wounds on his left arm.
Department of Fish and Game officials, however, say they have spoken to Biggs and were "unable to substantiate a lion attack." Biggs claims to have survived three previous mountain lions attacks, officials note, although there have been only 16 verified lion maulings in the state since 1890, none of them in his county. Biggs says he befriended the bear family on a previous trip. The "part of the story that loses most people is the patty-cake comment, in which Biggs said he was able to touch a bear cub's paw with his own palm while the mother bear watched," the Post notes.