Photos of tracks convince Mountain Lion Response
The Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) has confirmed the
presence of a mountain lion in northern Macon County, based on
photos of tracks taken by a landowner.
Rex Martensen, a member of the Conservation Department’s Mountain
Lion Response Team (MLRT), said the landowner found large, cat-like
tracks in a muddy creek bed while hunting mushrooms. He was near
the town of Economy, northeast of Long Branch Lake, on April 20.
The man took photos of the tracks and sent them to Private Land
Conservationist Ted Seiler.
Rain washed away the tracks before a member of the MLRT could visit
the site. However, Martensen said the tracks in the photo closely
match the characteristics of mountain lion tracks. He said the MLRT
needed no further evidence to confirm the presence of a mountain
Martensen said one thing that stood out in the photos was the lack
of claw marks.
“Even if a dog has well-worn toenails, as deep as these tracks went
into the mud, you would have seen those pretty clear.”
Martensen said the Conservation Department is not trying to find
the mountain lion that left the tracks. However, he said the MLRT
wants to know when and where mountain lions appear in Missouri and
is particularly interested in reports that involve photos, tracks,
hair or other physical evidence.
Evidence from other confirmed mountain lion sightings in the past
20 years suggests that the big cats are coming to Missouri from
other states where mountain lion populations have been growing.
Martensen said mountain lions might show up in Missouri with
increasing frequency as populations in northwest Nebraska and other
western states continue to grow and expand.
Many unanswered questions remain about mountain lions in Missouri.
In an attempt to answer these questions, the Conservation
Department established the MLRT to review citizen reports
“We don’t know what mountain lions do or where they go when they
get here,” said Martensen, “so pieces of the puzzle like this
report are interesting and very helpful to us.”
For more information about mountain lions in Missouri,
Send mountain lion reports, including photos or video, to
firstname.lastname@example.org. You also can call Jeff Beringer,
573-882-9909, ext. 3211; Rex Martensen, 573-522-4115, ext. 3147; or
Shawn Gruber, 573-522-4115, ext. 3262.