KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Mountain lions may be making a reappearance in Missouri after being declared extinct in the state in the 1920s.
The Kansas City Star reports that genetic material left behind on a dead elk in Shannon County confirmed the presence of a mountain lion. The material matched a mountain lion that had been trapped in 2012.
Experts say there’s not yet evidence of a permanent breeding population, but it may only be a matter of time. University of Missouri wildlife biology researcher Matthew Gompper says mountain lions are slowly moving eastward from the western part of the county.
The two closest populations of mountain lions are in Texas and South Dakota.
The Missouri Department of Conservation has only confirmed about 70 mountain lion sightings in the state since the 1990s. If you think you’ve seen one, you can report by clicking on this link.