Mountain Lions Off Endangered List

1 decade 1 year 1 month ago Wednesday, March 28 2007 Mar 28, 2007 Wednesday, March 28, 2007 4:20:15 PM CDT March 28, 2007 in News

The big cats were on the state's endangered list for 30 years, but the Conservation Commission removed them last Friday because there's no evidence Missouri has mountain lions anymore.

"Chances of running into a mountain lion are almost nil," said Dave Hamilton, resource scientist. "There are a lot of other things in the woods to be more worried about, like bee stings, sunburns, things like that."

The conservation department has pictures of a few mountain lions people have seen in the past 12 years, but the department said they're domesticated cougars or just wandered in from other states.

But, some people think taking mountain lions off the list could hurt them. Debbie and Dale Tolentino have a wildlife shelter where they rescue many animals, including a mountain lion they call Bonnie.

Now, the couple is afraid Missouri residents will think of mountains lions as fair game.

"Go to the West to hunt these guys," Debbie said. "Leave Missouri's cougars alone. But, if you get an eyeful of one, enjoy it 'cause they're very few and far between."

There is no record of a cougar attacking or hurting a person, pet, or livestock in Missouri.

To find out more or help the Wildlife Rescue Center, go to the website listed to the right of this story.

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