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New Mo. Mountain Lion Sighting Confirmed

 
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PostPosted: Thu Feb 17, 2011 11:11 pm    Post subject: New Mo. Mountain Lion Sighting Confirmed Reply with quote

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. -- The Missouri Department of Conservation has confirmed that a cat sighted in central Missouri in December is a mountain lion.

A landowner in southern Linn County contacted the MDC on Feb. 15 with two photos of the animal taken by a trail camera on Dec. 29.

“The photo is clearly of a mountain lion and we have confirmed the location,” said Jeff Beringer, resource scientist with the MDC’s Mountain Lion Response Team. “It may be wearing a radio collar based on what appears to be an antenna extending from the cat’s neck.”

The Linn County location is about 25 miles from where a mountain was shot and killed in Macon County on Jan. 22. This latest confirmed sighting makes five confirmed reports of a mountain lion in Missouri since November and 15 confirmed reports over the past 16 years.

Beringer said the lions appear to be young males roaming from other states.

“It is very difficult to determine exactly where these individual cats are coming from, but we do know that young male mountain lions go in search of new territories at about 18 months of age and during this time of year,” he explained. “And it makes sense that these big cats could roam into Missouri from the west and use the Missouri river and other river corridors to move throughout the state without being easily detected.”

He said mountain lion populations in Texas, Colorado, South Dakota and Nebraska are also increasing.

Mountain lions are nocturnal, secretive and generally avoid contact with humans.

“We have no documented cases in Missouri of mountain lions attacking livestock, people or pets,” he said. “There is a much greater risk of harm from automobiles, stray dogs and lightning strikes than from mountain lions.”

Beringer explained that the MDC’s Mountain Lion Response Team gets hundreds of calls and emails each year from people who believe they have seen mountain lions. When there is some type of physical evidence, the team investigates.

“More than 90 percent of these investigations turn out to be bobcats, house cats, or dogs,” he said. “Our investigations involving claims of pets or livestock being attacked by mountain lions typically turn out to be the work of dogs. And most of the photos we get of mountain lions turn out to be doctored photographs circulating on the Internet.”

Watch KMBC 9 News at 10 p.m. Thursday for a special report on mountain lion sightings in the region.

http://www.kmbc.com/r/26892073/detail.html
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