State wildlife professionals are wondering if a mountain lion filmed in late October in southwestern Kansas became the first of its kind to come and stay in Kansas.
The state has had 21 confirmed mountain lion sightings since 2007, but all of those leading up to last month appeared to be young, adult cats on the move, the Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism said on Sunday on his Facebook page.
The most recent sighting was on Oct. 24 at 10 a.m., when an adult mountain lion was photographed by a surveillance camera in Kiowa County, southwestern Kansas, Megan Mayhew said, communications manager for KDWPT.
This agency posted on its Facebook page on Sunday evening a photo of the mountain lion, which carried a recently killed porcupine in its mouth.
“It’s cool!” this post says.
The post in the early afternoon had reached more than 300,000 Facebook users in less than 24 hours thanks to people sharing it and tagging others in comments, Mayhew said.
“We post content a lot and it’s only once in a while that a post generates so much engagement and popularity,” she said.
Surveillance cameras are installed along the trails and configured to automatically capture images of any passing wildlife, said Matt Peek, Emporia-based wildlife research biologist for the KDWPT.
He said the photo taken on October 24 by a surveillance camera released by a resident of Kiowa County was unique as it was taken in the same general neighborhood where cougar sightings were reported two and a half months earlier.
The KDWPT said in Sunday’s Facebook post: “This photo follows three previous confirmations (20 miles away in total) in the same area 2.5 months ago, which biologists assumed to be the same. cat heading south.
Sunday’s Facebook post added: “This is the first time that multiple photos of a cat have been confirmed in the same area in a time frame that could indicate the presence of a resident lion. However, it is too early to tell as it could be a different lion coincidentally in the same area. “
Peek said he would be interested to see if surveillance cameras installed by residents and / or hunters in the area capture more footage in the coming weeks of the mountain lion pictured on October 24.
Puma populations can be found in parts of Nebraska and Colorado, but the species has not been known to live in Kansas, he said.
Kansas has never had any confirmed reports of cattle being killed by mountain lions, Peek added.
He said that although residents in some cases suspected that the mountain lions had killed their cattle, in each of these situations authorities were unable to make a decision or concluded that the cattle had been killed by others. thing.
While any cougar that tries to kill a porcupine risks having “a mouth full of quills,” Peek said, wildlife professionals from other states tell him some pumas have become skilled enough at turning pigs. -epics and reach them below.
The mountain lion shown in the photo taken on Oct. 24 appears to be holding the recently killed porcupine by the chest, he said.
Porcupines are scattered all over Kansas, Peek said.
“They’re not really common anywhere, but they’re more common in south-central and southwestern Kansas,” he said.