“Thousands of tired, nerve-shaken, over-civilized people are beginning to find out that going to the mountain is going home; that wildness is necessity; that mountain parks and reservations are useful not only as fountains of timber and irrigating rivers, but as fountains of life.”

John Muir

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Mountain Lion Update

Ray County mountain lion killed

The 115.2-pound animal makes only the 12th official sighting of a mountain lion in Missouri since 1994.

The body, a .22-caliber slug lodged in the brain, was sprawled on the autopsy table waiting for the scalpel.
Weight: 115.2 pounds.
Length: 79 inches.
Age: Perhaps three years, maybe younger, according to the sharp white teeth and markings on the inside of the legs.
The anatomical evidence that most interested the scientists: The dead mountain lion — nicknamed the Ray County Cat — was male.
And with that, Missouri’s Mountain Lion Response team sighed with relief.
Had it been a wild female, it would have signaled the state could have a breeding population of the big cats. Of the dozen confirmed sightings since 1994, only one — the team’s first investigation — was a female. In that case, some members thought it was someone’s pet.
So far, it’s just the wanderers, said Jeff Beringer, Department of Conservation furbearer resource biologist, who was part of the autopsy team. That is, the young males looking for love in all the wrong places.
The team saw no signs the healthy feline had been in captivity, such as tattoos or electronic identification tags. Nor did the paws show evidence of life in a hard-floored enclosure. Also, its dewclaws, often surgically removed in captive animals, were intact.
Hair samples taken for DNA testing should show the lion’s origins.

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