ALTON, Mo -- A landowner's trail camera has confirmed a mountain lion sighting in Oregon County. The camera image, which was of the back-portion of a mountain lion, was sent to Conservation Agent Brad Hadley on Aug. 29. Hadley forwarded the image on to the Missouri Department of Conservation's (MDC) Mountain Lion Response Team. The image was taken on August 23 on private land near the Eleven Point River northeast of Alton. Conservation agents Hadley and Paul Veatch visited the site on Aug 29 and confirmed the location of the image.
MDC Biologist Jeff Beringer, who is a member of the Response Team, says that widely scattered mountain lion sightings have been confirmed in Missouri and likely will continue. Evidence to date indicates these animals are dispersing from other states to the west of Missouri. The most extreme evidence of this dispersal occurred earlier this year when a mountain lion that was killed in Connecticut was genetically traced to South Dakota. This is the ninth such sighting in Missouri since November 2010.
MDC has no confirmed evidence of a breeding population in Missouri.
MDC receives many reports each year from people who believe they have seen mountain lions.
"We encourage these reports, but we can only confirm those for which there is physical evidence such as hair, scat, footprints, photos, video, a dead cougar or prey showing evidence of mountain-lion attack," says Beringer.
Reports of sightings can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org, or by contacting Beringer at 573-882-9909, ext. 3211, Rex Martensen at 573-522-4115, ext. 3147, or Shawn Gruber at 573-522-4115, ext. 3262.
Mountain lions are naturally shy of humans and generally pose little danger to people, even in states with thriving breeding populations. Although they are protected by law, Missouri's Wildlife Code does allow people to protect themselves and their property if necessary.
For more information, visit www.missouriconservation.org and search "mountain lion."