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We made it to January 5 for our first mountain lion!

( Assistant ed. note: Ok, so the headline is a little facetious. In 2011, the Missouri Department of Conservation recorded 14 confirmed mountain lion sightings, more than other confirmed sightings in the last 75 years combined. )

MDC News Release Jan. 5

CENTERVILLE–The Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) has examined and released a male mountain lion trapped by a private citizen in Reynolds County.

File image courtesy Wikipedia Commons

image courtesy Wikipedia Commons

Reynolds County Commissioner Wayne Henson called Conservation Agent Eric Long this morning and reported catching the 122-pound mountain lion on Wednesday. Henson said the cat entered a large, cage-type live trap that he set on Mark Twain National Forest land to catch bobcats, coyotes, raccoons and other mammals.

Henson brought the mountain lion, still alive and in the cage trap, to Centerville this morning. http://s580.photobucket.com/albums/ss247/wappkid/?action=view&current=video-2012-01-05-08-37-17.mp4 (video posted to Photobucket by wappkid).

Agent Long and MDC Resource Scientist Jeff Beringer took possession of the animal and transported it to Current River Conservation Area, where Beringer could examine the animal without disturbance. After weighing and measuring the cat and collecting DNA, Beringer released it to the wild, in keeping with MDC’s established policy for such cases.

Beringer estimated the cat’s age at 2 years. He said it was in excellent physical condition and showed no signs of having been held in captivity.

All wildlife is protected under the provisions of the Wildlife Code of Missouri. However, the Code provides for the taking of wildlife during prescribed hunting and trapping seasons and under other circumstances, such as when mountain lions are attacking or killing livestock or domestic animals or threatening human safety. MDC has not stocked mountain lions in Missouri and has no plans to do so.

MDC wants to learn more about mountain lions in the Show-Me State and encourages Missourians to report sightings to the Mountain Lion Response Team at mountain.lion@mdc.mo.gov

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