JACKSON - Four mountain lions in northwest Wyoming have died of bubonic plague, prompting warnings to hunters and domestic cat owners.
All four lions were collared as part of a research project. They included a female cougar and its kitten that were found dead this fall.
Ken Mills, a professor in the University of Wyoming College of Agriculture's Department of Veterinary Sciences, said researchers don't want people to be alarmed but do want to increase awareness of the disease.
"Is this an indication we have a more active plague at this time? It could be," Mills said.
People and cats get bubonic plague mainly through flea bites.
Fleas become infected by biting an infected rodent, such as a prairie dog, gopher or squirrel.
Symptoms include swollen lymph nodes and a fever. The disease also can cause pneumonia.