Cougars Scout Out Original Territory for Reclamation

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July 5 2010 3:31 PM

Cougars Scout Out Original Territory for Reclamation

A radio-collared mountain lion from Colorado roamed freely around western Kansas for most of the month of March this year, the Hays Daily News reported last week . According to a report presented to the Kansas Wildlife and Parks Commission, the Daily News recounted, the 90-pound male cougar unexpectedly strayed from well-covered wild areas, and " basically used what cover it could find, small patches of grass, shelterbelts and abandoned houses."

It was the third confirmed mountain lion in Kansas since the last known lion was killed in 1904 near Victoria. The others included one that was killed in 2007 in Barber County and one that was spotted near a huge pile of corn in Oct. 9 in Trego County. 

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Before European colonization of the Western Hemisphere, mountain lions lived everywhere in North and South America except Alaska and the Canadian far north. Officially, their modern range in the United States is restricted to the West, but the big cats have been venturing ever further eastward. In May, a mountain lion was photographed by a motion-sensing camera in Indiana.

While it was in Kansas, the mountain lion from Colorado was not known to have killed any livestock, but researchers concluded its "prey had included one domestic cat, two raccoons, a porcupine and one deer." Its most recent position was in New Mexico.

Tom Scocca is the managing editor of Deadspin and the author of Beijing Welcomes You: Unveiling the Capital City of the Future.

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