A healthy, 125-pound male cougar, age unknown, was just hanging out in a Kentucky tree. He was the first mountain lion spotted in the state since the Civil War. That was in the 1800s folks, about 150 years ago. He was killed by a wildlife officer.
Sad and tragic! At one time the southern state did have a native mountain lion population. However, human expansion, over-hunting, and habitat loss took care of that.
Here's how it went down:
The large cat was spotted by a dog walker on Monday and it fled up a tree. The responding wildlife officers killed the animal over concerns that predator could be a danger to humans.
“If that cat had left that tree, it would have disappeared into the brush and it was a fairly populated area,” said Mark Marraccini, a Fish and Game spokesperson.
“That’s the way the officers deemed to handle it and I don’t see any reason why it shouldn’t be handled that way,” Marraccini added.
Some criticized the officers for not using a tranquilizing gun. The department claimed it would have taken hours for a vet to arrive with the darts.
Mountain lion attacks are rare but attacks on humans can happen. In September a six-year-old boy in California was dragged away by one of the big cats looking for a meal. (His family was able to rescue him)
“The older they get, the more unpredictable and dangerous they can be,” Steven Taylor, assistant director of conservation at the Louisville Zoo, told the Lexington Herald-Leader. “Potentially, you could be killed by a mountain lion.”