Conservation Department Examines Missouri Mountain Lion

7 years 11 months 5 days ago Monday, January 03 2011 Jan 3, 2011 Monday, January 03, 2011 6:10:22 PM CST January 03, 2011 in News
COLUMBIA - Missouri Department of Conservation employees were researching a mountain lion Monday killed by a farmer Sunday night in Ray County near Kansas City. The farmer shot and killed the male cat to protect his cattle. The farmer then called the conservation department to turn in the animal.

Jeff Beringer, a research scientist for the department, said the department is collecting DNA and taking measurements to get an idea of where the cat may be from.  Beringer said male mountain lions tend to be on the move looking for mates and can travel hundreds of miles from states like Colorado, South Dakota and Nebraska.

"That's kind of the nature of these animals," he said. "That's how they colonize is they'll take off hundreds of miles looking for another female."

He said the mountain lion was healthy and weighs about 115 pounds.  Beringer also believes it is a young cat because of the markings on its fur and its clean, sharp teeth.

"Older animals get a lot of staining on their teeth and they get worn down overtime, so this looks like a young male," he said.

The department has record of a recent mountain lion sighting in Platte County and it will use tests on this animal to see if the two are related.
 
"We'll be able to see if this is the same cat or a different one," Beringer said. "And then we can get an idea of where it may have come from."

From here the department plans to mount the cat and put it in one of its nature centers.  It hopes to use the animal for educational purposes.

"This is a great opportunity just to educate the public and so we can get this animal mounted and on display in one of our nature centers and people can come by and see what a real mountain lion looks like," Beringer said.

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