Interesting wildlife news this week includes a male mountain lion weighing 102 pounds was shot and killed in El Paso, Texas. The lion was spotted around the city and then entering the parking garage of a state office building at 401 E. Franklin, where Texas State Game Wardens have their offices, along with several other government agencies. Officials shot the mountain lion with a tranquilizer dart, but it jumped from the second floor of the garage back onto the street before the drugs took effect.
The mountain lion passed through a school yard and then ran to a car wash where officers evacuated several customers and lowered the business’s security gate to trap the mountain lion. The lion was darted a second time, but immediately began to run again. The mountain lion took off and hit a fence, and was about to escape the perimeter fence, so officers shot and killed the mountain lion. Continue reading
The hunters that head into elk country know that these animals inhabit rough country, along with the other wildlife species, such as mountain lions, that live there. There has been a photo circulating around the web of a mountain lion stalking an elk hunter. In the photo, the successful elk hunter apparently is not aware that a mountain lion is standing only a few feet behind him.
Here is the elk hunter’s description of the photo as it was forwarded around the world: “This is freaking scary. As you know I was alone when I downed this bull elk in North Dakota. I was using my camera’s timer attached to my shooting stick to give me enough time to get into the picture. I knew there were a lot of mountain lion sightings in the area but had no idea they would come in this close to people. He had to be within 10 feet of me and I didn’t even know it. I about crapped my pants when I looked at the pictures the next morning and saw he was there.”
Mountain lions are majestic animals that cover a lot of country and hunt big game animals. So the question some folks are asking is, “What is a mountain lion doing in Frisco, Texas?” As it turns out, nobody knows why this animal is here, but there have been 3 separate sightings recently of what appears to be a mountain lion along the hiking trail area on the north side of Frisco Commons Park, located at 8000 McKinney Road.
While there have been reports of bobcat sightings in Frisco in recent years, all 3 people who saw the animal along the Frisco Commons Park trail say it was not a bobcat, but a mountain lion. Frisco Commons Park remains open, and parks management reminds residents and visitors that operating hours for all city parks are from dawn until dusk. Signs will be posted around the park alerting park visitors of the recent sightings. Everyone using the area is encouraged to use caution while in the area. Continue reading
This mountain lion was killed in early November 2009 about 6 miles south of Junction, Texas. The hunter was looking to harvest a white-tailed deer during Texas’ General Season when this cougar walked by. The photo was taken at Kimble Processing in Junction. Mountain lion sightings and kills have increased in recent years as the cats expand their range eastward again.
Mountain lions, also commonly referred to as cougars, pumas, or catamounts, have a large distribution across North and Central America. In fact, the Mountain lion has the widest distribution of any wild cat, from Canada to South America. Formerly distributed throughout North America, the Mountain lion is now found mostly in the remote areas of the western U.S., as well as western Canada and much of Mexico. A small lion population still exists in southern Florida, where the species is considered an endangered animal. Continue reading
Here are a couple of photos of a mountain lion harvested near Laredo, Texas, by white-tailed deer hunters during Texas’ General Hunting Season. The hunters were hunting on their deer lease when the big cat showed up on Saturday, November 7, 2009. Texas has many mountain lions sighted in the Trans-Pecos portions of west Texas, but South Texas ranks second in cougar sightings.
A mountain lion has never been known to attack a person in Texas. However, mountain lions have attacked small children when left unattended in mountain lion habitat in other states. Mountain lions attack by ambushing their prey. They either suffocate or break their prey’s neck. Lions prefer big game, but will eat smaller mammals if circumstances permit.
Mountain lions are known to kill deer, but it’s not very often that anyone gets to see a cougar killing its prey. In fact, it is a special occassion to even have the opportunity to see a mountian lion in the wild. The persons filming the video below were not only fortunate enough to see a mountain lion, but they were lucky enough to witness the animal killing a mule deer and capture the whole thing on camera.
Most mountain lion sightings are unreliable, but a video can substantiate just about anything. The following event was filmed in August 2008 and was captured on video by local hiker Jen Kulier, who wrote to to describe how she and her friends captured this video in the Crags on the backside of Pikes Peak:
“Some friends (Mark Lee, Keith Emmons, Jackson Solway) and I were getting an early start to summit Pikes Peak from the Crags last August. We were driving up the road to the trailhead at about 6 am. I was riding shotgun and holding a video camera, because we planned to film some of our hike. Just before we got to the Mennonite Camp, a deer walked into the road and stopped, so I started filming the deer. At the same time the camera started filming, the mountain lion jumped out from the trees on the side of the road and attacked the deer.”
Most reports of mountain lion sightings in Texas are never verified with physical evidence, although such reports can arouse fear and cause a local publicity stir, according to wildlife experts with the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department. In one incident this spring, TPWD’s John Davis pulled up a photograph on his computer that someone had taken in a neighborhood north of Austin showing an animal’s tail barely visible behind a cedar tree.
The man who sent the grainy mobile phone photo said the animal was a large cat, prompting some people to speculate it was the latest in a rash of supposed mountain lion sightings in urban areas. Closer inspection proved otherwise.
Davis, TPWD conservation outreach coordinator and a former urban wildlife biologist, examined the size of a prickly-pear pad next to the cat in the photograph and used it as a scale to measure the animal’s size. “That’s a feral cat, maybe about 18 inches tall,” he said. “It’s not a mountain lion.” Also this spring, TPWD Game Warden Arlen “Turk” Jones handled a report of another supposed mountain lion sighting. Continue reading