OK Department Of Wildlife Investigating Mountain Lion Sightings
The Oklahoma Department of Wildlife is investigating several recent mountain lion sightings in Central Oklahoma. The agency has already confirmed one of those sightings to be true. Now, their biologists are looking into other photos sent in by landowners.
A couple near Tecumseh said they snapped a cell picture of a mountain lion, just feet from their backdoor. It was surprising, even for the man who investigates these sighting.
“It's kind of hard to believe that one would be that close to a house,” said Jerrod Davis, a furbearer biologist with the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife.
Davis is also looking into other mountain lion pictures sent in from trail cameras in Tecumseh, Seminole and Luther. Davis said out of 20-50 reported sightings, usually only one turns out to be an actual mountain lion.
“A lot of misidentification with bobcats, feral cats, or domestic cats, dogs, pretty much anything and everything that could think of that would be misconstrued as being a mountain lion,” he explained.
For example, a picture sent in from Ft. Gibson. It turned out to be a bobcat, not a mountain lion. However, Davis said the other pictures he is looking into all look like mountain lions, they may even be the same cat. He just needs to make sure no one photo-shopped or shared a picture from somewhere else.
“The pictures that we've received are definitely mountain lions, but we have to go through and confirm that they were taken in that location,” Davis told News 9.
Over the years, the department has only confirmed 11 sightings of mountain lions. Davis does not believe Oklahoma has an established mountain lion population, but that the cats are moving through heading to another state.
In 2011, a car hit and killed one in Minco and the research the department was able to do on it was invaluable.
“We haven't had any cases of a mountain lion ever attacking anyone,” Davis said. “They are probably more afraid of you than you are of them.”
The Department of Wildlife has a list of confirmed mountain lion sightings on its website.