mountain lion, Pulaski, Department of Conservation

Published 08/16 2013 10:24PM

Updated 08/17 2013 03:29PM

PULASKI COUNTY, Mo. -- An anonymous landowner caught an unusual sight of a mountain lion in Pulaski County on June 29th.  They snapped a photo and showed it to the Missouri Department of Conservation, who confirmed the sighting.

There have been about 40 confirmed reports of mountain lions in Missouri over the past 19 years.  Some other local sightings in years past occurred in Christian, Texas, and Taney counties. 

Francis Skalicky with the Missouri Department of Conservation tells how mountain lions got to Missouri. 

"Mountain lions have a very far roaming range they can roam hundreds of miles," explains Skalicky.  

They travel from other states like South Dakota, Montana, and Colorado.

"So far what we've seen are just males.  We've got no evidence of females or females with kittens," says Skalicky.

Missouri does not have a native mountain lion population.

"And this is kind of  a sad thing," adds National Tiger Sanctuary Associate Director, Abbie Knudsen. 

Knudsen says that the species is not endangered now, but we need to protect these creatures. 

"If we don't have a healthy mountain lion population that means the whole ecosystem won't  be healthy and eventually everything will start to fall apart," explains Knudsen.

Plus, mountain lions are not known to pose a great threat. 

"(There is a) very, very unlikely chance that you're going to get hurt by a mountain lion," says Knudsen.

Mountain lion prefer prey that are small animals like deer, not humans. 

"The mountain lion doesn't want to be around you anymore than you want to be around it," Skalicky explains.

Seeing a mountain lion roaming in your area would be a startling sight, so what should you do?  

"Just some basic scare tactics should work," says Skalicky. "Yell, scream, clap your hands, make noise." 

Taking a video or picture is okay if you have the opportunity to do so without endangering yourself.

The Missouri Department of Conservation requests to be notified of any pictures or notifications of mountain lion sightings.

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