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Archive for Tuesday, October 15, 2002

KC motorist kills mountain lion

October 15, 2002

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— Authorities are trying to determine whether a mountain lion that bolted into the path of a car and was killed was wild or raised in captivity.

Mountain lions, also known as cougars, were once native to Missouri and Kansas but were eliminated by hunting and habitat destruction.

The accident early Monday on Interstate 70 in Kansas City, north of the Missouri River, was the first documented case of a free-roaming cougar in the metropolitan area in modern times, said Steve Nichols, a Missouri Department of Conservation agent based in Platte County.

The adult male mountain lion weighing about 100 pounds and measuring 7 feet from the tip of its nose to the end of its tail was hurt about 1:45 a.m. when it ran full stride across the northbound lanes of the interstate.

Susan Ratliff said the cougar appeared in front of her car too suddenly for her to avoid hitting it.

An officer shot and killed the mortally injured animal when it was found near the site of the accident, just south of the Interstate 35-Interstate 29 interchange.

To determine whether the animal was wild or pen-raised, experts will examine the contents of its stomach to see if it had been feeding on wild game.

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