Kentucky wildlife officers have confirmed the discovery of the first wild adult mountain lion in the state since before the Civil War, well over a century ago. The large cat was first spotted by a dog walker in Bourbon County on Monday afternoon. According to WKYT, officials said that the dog may have given the cat a fright, and it fled up a tree on Redmon Road. The responding officers decided to euthanize the animal due to concerns that the predator could escape and endanger nearby residents as evening approached.

“If that cat had left that tree, it would have disappeared into the brush and it was a fairly populated area,” Mark Marraccini, a Fish and Game spokesperson, told The Courier-Journal.

“That’s the way the officers deemed to handle it and I don’t see any reason why it shouldn’t be handled that way,” Marraccini added.

Some have criticized the officers for not tranquilizing the large feline, but the department said it would have taken hours for a state veterinarian to have arrived with the darts, during which the cougar could have escaped into the nearby town of Paris. Mountain lion attacks are rare, even in states where they maintain a large population. However, attacks on humans can occur, and in September a six-year-old boy picnicking in California’s Santa Clara County was dragged away by one of the predators before his family was able to rescue him.

“The older they get, the more unpredictable and dangerous they can be,” Steven Taylor, assistant director of conservation at the Louisville Zoo, told the Lexington Herald-Leader. “Potentially, you could be killed by a mountain lion.”

Biologists examined the cougar and found it to be a healthy, 125-pound male of indeterminate age. Officials are trying to figure out where the mountain lion came from, since the species has been extirpated in the state since the 1800s. At one time Kentucky did have a native mountain lion population, but a combination of human expansion, over-hunting, and habitat loss drove the species west. A motorist ran over a juvenile cat in the state in the 1990s.

State biologists speculate that the mountain lion could be an escaped pet. Although cougars are hardly common among pet owners, Kentucky only recently outlawed the ownership of these cats in 2005. Residents who already had a cougar were allowed to keep them.

Image from Justin Shoemaker on the Wikimedia Commons

What's Your Reaction?

Like
Like Love Haha Wow Sad Angry
  • Steve Ridling

    If someone lost a pet like a mountain lion, surely they would say something?

    • jdub84

      maybe shirley will say something

  • Boodiba

    I sort of wish it HAD eaten a human child before they shot it.

    • Marlin

      You sound like one of those liberal idiots in PETA. You would have thought differently if the mountain lion was chewing on your face!

      • Smiley

        You sound like on of those conservative idiots who watch Fox news. Isn’t if fun to hurl insults at people you don’t know?

      • RPJ

        No, actually both you & Boodiba sound like idiots. No one is looking for wildlife to be eating or attacking children except for.. yup, idiots. That almost always guarantees that the animal will be destroyed, & frankly, that seems to be the type of logic one finds with supporters of PETA. You know, let the baby polar bear die instead of being in a zoo. Or better yet kill elephants instead of relocating them. All PETA stances in the past.
        As to the Fox News comment, really, grow up.

    • Truhawk

      No…someone like you would be OK with me though.

  • Neal Hamann

    they should have relocated it to a less heavy area and let them renter ky

  • chris mueller

    Well, if you see 1, there most likely will be others around.

  • jdub84

    Some things jump out at me as not being totally accurate about this article. One it is not the 1st Mtn. Lion seen in KY since the Civil War. people have been seeing them for years. The article says that KDFWR confirmed the cat to be wild, which is also untrue. The cat has not been determined to be wild or possibly someone’s pet. If the cat is determined to be wild then it would be the first WILD mountain lion to be CONFIRMED in the state since the civil war. There obviously have been others, as mentioned in the article one was hit with a car in the 90’s. The article seems to contradict itself by 1st saying the cat was Wild and then later stating that KDFWR have not determined if it was someones pet or not…very poor job of writing.

    • Steve Ridling

      You must have talked to Shirley…

  • jalanc

    if it was a wild mountain lion why shoot and kill it. I get possible danger to public but are a lot of wild animals we see potential dangerous or could kill someone. I would think that wildlife workers would be happy to see a prev animal return to the area. I mean we don’t kill every lion we see cause its next to a village or kill a shark thats within a couple of miles from swimmers.

  • Rope

    You clearly do not understand how this works, if the cat was
    released the state would have to admit that there are mountain lions and start managing
    for them. This would add millions to the cost of operating the states fish and
    wildlife agency; they would have to hire mountain lion professional biologists,
    land managers and setup payment programs to account for losses by ranchers of
    livestock killed by a managed apex predator. And that is just the beginning,
    lands may have to set aside for habitat at the tax payer’s expense and the list
    goes on and on!