Kansas' mountain lion #5 verified

Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks biologists just released verification of a mountain lion photographed by a trail camera in Nemaha County on Dec. 7.

Matt Peek, Wildlife and Parks furbearer biologist, said the department heard about the photos on Dec. 16. A staff biologist inspected the area where the photo was taken the next day to verify the landscape as pictured in the photo.

Peek said the department is honoring the landowner’s wishes to remain anonymous and that the photos not be shared with others.

This is the fifth mountain lion verified in Kansas since 2007, when a Barber County landowner shot and killed one on his property. Before that the last official verification was one shot in western Kansas in 1904.

It’s strongly believed the Kansas cats are wandering in from areas with expanding mountain lion populations, especially the South Dakota Black Hills. In March a mountain lion radio-collared in the Colorado mountains traveled roughly north to south across far western Kansas in less than one month.

That cat, a young male, eventually ended up in central New Mexico. It had traveled more than 1,000 miles from where it was collared and released.

In late October a Kansas bowhunter also found photos of a mountain lion on a trail camera in Republic County. Peek was one of the biologists who investigated that location and verified the photos.

Republic and Nemaha Counties are along the Nebraska border and about 100 miles apart. Peek said it’s possible the trail camera photos from the two counties could be of the same mountain lion but said he lacks enough details to officially confirm or deny that possibility.

Biologists in states with solid populations have long said trail camera photos and road-kills are easy to find when mountain lions are in an area.