Why mountain lions are no longer found in Kentucky

Anita Durairaj

At one time mountain lions were common in Kentucky. This was during the 1800s but then after 1899, there were no valid records of the animal existing in the state.

Kentucky is no longer considered to be a home for mountain lions. The nearest populations of mountain lions reside in Nebraska and Florida. Occasionally, a few mountain lions may wander into Kentucky state and they are then sighted. However, these mountain lions are not native to Kentucky.

Why did Kentucky lose its mountain lion population?

The simple answer may be habitat loss and hunting. Mountain lions are also no longer found in many other states in the United States for the same reason.

According to the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources, people in Kentucky often misidentify big cats. They may think they have spotted a mountain lion when it is most likely a bobcat. There are just no mountain lions in Kentucky.

Bobcats are now making a return to Kentucky and they are physically similar to mountain lions with their solid brown coats which is why people misidentify them.

As for mountain lions, they are decreasing throughout the United States but the animal is considered to be of "Least Concern" by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature. This indicates that the mountain lion still exists in sufficient numbers in the United States. The mountain lion population is only decreasing because of hunting, loss of habitat, vehicle killings and scarcity of prey.

Hunting of mountain lions is mostly banned in the states where it is found such as in Florida and California.

As for Kentucky, residents now have to worry more about the bobcat and not the mountain lion.

Sources: Wildlife Informer, Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources, Treehugger

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Trained with a Ph.D. in Chemistry from the University of Cincinnati, I write unique and interesting articles focused on science, history, and current events.


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