Are you missing a mountain lion? Missouri has it. Sort of.
There have been six confirmed mountain lion sightings in Missouri since November. One of the mountain lions, photographed on a trail camera in December, appears to be wearing a radio collar with a VHF antenna. While that suggests the mountain lion’s participation in a tracking study, Missouri Department of Conservation resource scientist Jeff Beringer has not been able to find the researcher who collared it.
“I have made a lot of calls to other states trying to identify that animal, but so far my only lead is a missing, collared, sub-adult male from Utah. That would be one heck of a move – but not impossible,” said Beringer in a recent press release.
Two of the other Missouri mountain lions were shot by hunters. Their DNA has been tested, and shows that they are from either the Black Hills of South Dakota or from northwestern Nebraska, which are the two closest wild populations of mountain lions to Missouri. There was no evidence that the animals had been held in captivity. Those mountain lions were young and male, which is consistent with the department’s theory that these animals are traveling into Missouri from their home areas. Young male mountain lions are known to travel long distances in search of their own territory.
|Linn County, MO|
Much more information is available from the Missouri Department of Conservation. It includes the press release with information about the DNA results (in the middle of the page, after the DNA results from a Great Lakes wolf found in the state).And background information on mountain lion sightings in the state, including a map.
Photos: Courtesy Missouri Department of Conservation. The Linn County animal is the one with the radio collar. Go to the original photo accompanying the press release for a closer view.