Mountain lion movements

January 17, 2019
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Sheridan - A year-and-a-half old mountain lion recently showed up south of Rozet, Wyoming after roaming from its original home in Nebraska.

The male lion was harvested by a hunter on Jan. 5 and was reported as required by regulation to a WGFD employee. The lion was marked with an ear tag from Nebraska and the identifying number was reported to the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission (NGPC).

Sam Wilson, furbearer and carnivore program manager with NGPC, reported that the lion was tagged in August 2017 as a four-week old kitten of a collared lion in the northwest corner of Nebraska. He said the collared female is part of ongoing research looking at mountain lion population estimates and impacts throughout Nebraska, with special focus on the Pine Ridge area.

The cat was harvested 12 miles southeast of Gillette, a straight-line distance of approximately 130 miles from where it was tagged.

“Males are the primary dispersers in a lion population and this is pretty independent of density,” said Dan Thompson, the game and fish department’s large carnivore section supervisor. “They normally disperse from their natal range whereas females try to set up territory close to their mother. Dispersal doesn’t occur as regularly with females, but we have documented it.”

The longest documented dispersal to date is of a lion collared in the Black Hills that was later hit by a train in Oklahoma in 2004, a distance of 663 straight line miles.

- WGFD -

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