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I read the second K.C. Star story accessed by Kristi's link. The cougar was crossing I-35 (not I-70, as AP reported) and was within Kansas City limits. It was 7'1" long from nose to tail and weighed 125 pounds. It was 2-3 years old. Its stomach was empty, but hairs resembling deer hairs were found in its intestines. None of the usual signs of captivity was present.

It will be some time, if ever, before it can be determined whether the cougar was wild or released.  Evidently,  cougars are occasionally kept privately in Missouri (and in nearby-by Eastern Kansas), some legally, others illegally. A person who wants to get rid of an Illegally-kept cougar may  release it because no legitimate keeper of such animals will accept it without proper documentation. Plenty of deer, turkeys and other prey for cougars are available in Missouri. Captive-raised cougars instinctivly know how to kill prey, although they may not be as proficient at it as wild-raised cougars.

DNA testing may be used to determine the cougar's origin. If it shows that the cougar belonged to a South American strain, it can be inferred that it was a released captive animal. If it is from the North American strain, absent further evidence about its origin, it may never be known whether it was born wild or in captivity.

Bob Fisher
Independence, Missouri
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  ----- Original Message -----
  From: [log in to unmask]
  To: [log in to unmask]
  Sent: Thursday, October 17, 2002 8:45 AM
  Subject: Re: Mountain Lion in or near K.C.


  Here's a link to the Kansas City Star's first story on the mountain lion. It was struck crossing I-35 near Parvin Road in the northland:

  http://www.kansascity.com/mld/kansascity/news/breaking_news/4283221.htm

  This follow-up story includes the report that the mountain lion had hairs in its intestines that resemble deer hairs:

  http://www.kansascity.com/mld/kansascity/news/4292689.htm

  When I was very small, our vet told stories about losing several lambs off his farm near Kearney over a short period of time. Then he found a large set of tracks that would fit a big cat. There were also rumors, not too long before or after that, of a mountian lion being seen lounging on a hay bale near Liberty Hospital (north of Kansas City). You never know where one might turn up... That would make birding around here a little bit more interesting, wouldn't it?

  Kristi Mayo
  Kearney, MO
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