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(Neb)-Good Turnout, Interaction For Chadron Mountain Lion Meeting

By: John Axtell Posted at: 04/04/2018 03:51 PM
CHADRON -  Nebraska Game and Parks officials are pleased with a public update-input meeting last night at Chadron State College on mountain lions in the state.

     About 80 people turned out for the meeting, which ran a half-hour past its 2-hour planned limit, and most seemed pleased with the session and the information shared. Much of the meeting had the audience split into smaller work groups to develop questions and concerns answered later in the session.

       The turnout wasn't surprising since the number of incidents in the area involving the big cats, also often called cougars or pumas, has increased significantly the past 3 years. Nebraska's largest population of the  is in the Pine Ridge and was estimated late last spring at around 60 adults and kittens.

       Game and Park carnivore program manager Sam Wilson gave an update on the agency's  mountain lion management plan adopted last October and a multi-year cougar research project that runs through next year.

     Wilson said the research project has captured 58 mountain lions and fitted them with ear tags or tracking collars. Many have dispersed or died, but 17 of them  - 8 male and 9 female - have working GPS  collars that are helping identify habitat and migration patterns. One collared male is in the Wildcat Hills with the other 16 pumas in the Pine Ridge.

     There have been confirmed cases in the northern Panhandle of livestock killed by mountain lions and Wilson told the Game and Parks Commission last summer that biologists believed 9 bighorn sheep had been killed by cougars in the previous 2 years, including 5 between June 2016 and March 2017.


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