A male mountain lion born in Nebraska has been killed by a hunter in Montana. It’s the first time a Nebraska-born cougar has been killed more than one state away.
The Lincoln Journal-Star reports the mountain lion was just a when state biologists found him and a sibling in a den in the Pine Ridge near Chadron in 2018 and attached yellow ear tags.
Tag NE 78 eventually headed north, crossed Interstate 90 and walked more than 250 miles to end up near Ekalaka in the southeast corner of the state where he was killed during hunting season.
Nebraska Game and Parks Furbearer and Carnivore Manager Sam Wilson says lone male mountain lions will often setoff looking for their own territory, but this was a record for a Nebraska big cat.
Montana wildlife biologist Emily Mitchell says wildlife officials have long suspected mountain lions from other states have come into Montana, but the tagged Nebraska cat is the first confirmation.
Mitchell says such roamers are actually good because adding new bloodlines to the resident Montana population is good for genetic diversity and maintains biodiversity in the population.