2012 Spring Your side of the fence 1
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1 Your Side of the Fence • Spring 2012 Spring 2012 A Publication of the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation Volume 12, Number 1 Your Side of the fence Mountain Lions in Oklahoma? By Erik Bartholomew, furbearer biologist Puma concolor, the cat of one color, has caught the attention of many Oklahomans recently. ODWC has confirmed several sightings since 2004. The mountain lion, also known as panther, puma, or cougar was once found throughout the United States including Oklahoma. In 1765, French explorer Brevel reported seeing mountain lions in the Wichita Mountains. Mountain lions were once found throughout the United States, and with westward expansion, the mountain lions primary food source, deer, and mountain lions themselves, were hunted to near extinction in much of the eastern United States. By 1900, mountain lions were considered extirpated from Oklahoma, but scattered reports and confirmations of mountain lions have occurred since the mid- 1940’s throughout the state. In 1953, Bryan P. Glass, mammologist with Oklahoma State University, found tracks southeast of Canton Lake. Since 2004, there have been 11 confirmed mountain lion reports in Oklahoma. Most recently, a 3-year-old male was struck and killed by a car near the town of Minco on November 2, 2011. This cat weighed 130 pounds, was in good health, and had a single porcupine quill in its stomach. Genetic tests link this animal to the Black Hills of South Dakota. The Black Hills are essentially an island of habitat in a sea of prairie, and when there are too many animals living in a confined area, they set off in search of new territory. Many neighboring states, including Kansas and Missouri, have documented evidence of mountain lions moving through their states as well. You may have also seen the news article of a mountain lion killed in Connecticut on a highway that traveled through Minnesota and Wisconsin, which originated in the Black Hills regions. Researchers in the Black Hills have documented radio-collared cats traveling into North Dakota, Canada and western Montana. Mountain lions are found from the tip of South America north into the Canadian Rockies. What was that? Oklahoma has two, native wild cats, the bobcat (Lynx rufus) and the mountain lion. A mountain lion's most distinguishing characteristic is its long tail, which Erik Bartholomew, furbearer biologist for the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation, takes the rare opportunity to conduct research on the mountain lion, which was hit on HWY 81 north of Minco in November. Photo by Michael Bergin.
|Okla State Agency||
Wildlife Conservation, Oklahoma Department of
|Okla Agency Code||
|Title||Your side of the fence, spring 2012, v.12 no.1|
Oklahoma. Department of Wildlife Conservation.
|Purpose||Mountain Lions in Oklahoma?|
|For all issues click||W2800.6 Y81|
|Digital Format||PDF Adobe Reader required|
|ODL electronic copy||Downloaded from agency website: http://wildlifedepartment.com/ysof/Spring12.pdf|
|Rights and Permissions||This Oklahoma State Government publication is provided for educational purposes under US copyright law. Other usage requires permission of copyright holders.|