By the early 1900’s, Nebraska had successfully killed off its entire mountain lion population. Dead, all gone, no more, extinct. During the past twenty years however, lions from surviving populations in the West have slowly started showing up in the middle of the country, attempting to recolonize their former range. Since 1991, Nebraska has documented numerous sightings, confirmed twenty-one lions have come through the state, and attempted to give the species some legal protection. This should be good news, but unfortunately residents in this region are not tolerating the return of the mountain lion. Nearly every single one of those 21 cats has either been found dead or was immediately shot and killed on sight. These shootings are backed by claims that killing the cat was the only way to ensure public safety. Even though lions are considered protected in the state, they can still be killed legally if people feel they (or their animals) are in danger. Last week, Nebraska’s 20th lion was killed after a woman’s dog scared it up a tree and both she and Nebraska Game & Parks personnel didn’t know what else to do. And then, on Friday the 21st, lion was shot by a homeowner after she spotted it watching one of her goats that had gotten caught up in a fence. Perhaps the next lion, #22, will survive more than a day in the deadly state, but with their current track record the odds sure aren’t looking good……Mtn. Lion Foundation
A western Nebraska woman shot and killed a mountain lion who was watching her free a goat stuck in a fence.
The incident happened Friday about five miles southeast of Chadron in Dawes County — 25 miles and three days after Game and Parks officials shot and killed a young male cougar on a farm about seven miles northwest of Hemingford.
The Chadron-area mountain lion was an 82-pound female that appeared to be in good condition, according to the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission.
A Game and Parks investigation determined that the Chadron landowner was justified in killing the animal to protect herself and her livestock. The woman was not identified.
The landowner had photographed a mountain lion in her yard six days earlier, contacted the agency and started keeping a rifle close at hand. When the woman was trying to free the goat, she noticed a mountain lion watching from the grass at the edge of the pen.
The woman shot and killed the cat with the rifle she carried as she did chores. She then contacted the state agency to report the shooting, as required by law.
Mountain lions are a protected species in Nebraska unless they are in the act of stalking, killing or consuming livestock, or are determined to be a threat to human safety.
The carcass will be sent to agency headquarters in Lincoln for further review.
The Chadron mountain lion was the 113th confirmed observation in Nebraska since 1991. It was the 11th confirmation this year. Eighty-one of the confirmed sightings have been in the Pine Ridge area near Chadron.
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