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Archive for Saturday, August 23, 2003

Leavenworth residents say they’ve seen mountain lions

August 23, 2003

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— Some Leavenworth residents say they've seen mountain lions in the city's wooded areas, but a state conservation officer said none of the reported sightings have been confirmed.

Sharon Crary, who lives in southwest Leavenworth near the city limits, said she saw a mountain lion recently as she was driving. She found pictures on the Internet she said looked like the animal she saw.

At least one other woman told city commissioners this week she had spotted what she believes was a mountain lion.

Glenn Cannizzaro, a state conservation officer in Leavenworth County, said there have been no confirmed sightings of wild cougars in Leavenworth County in the nearly 18 years he has worked there.

Although Crary expressed concern about the possibility of a cougar attack, Cannizzaro said it was unlikely a mountain lion would attack someone.

"There's a possibility (attacks) could occur," he said. "There have been mountain lion attacks out in Colorado and California at times. But most of the time a wild animal is going to go the other way, unless it's protecting its young or you surprise it."

Earlier this month in central Missouri, a motorist struck a mountain lion on a major highway -- the second accident of its kind in the state in 10 months. In October 2002, a mountain lion was struck by a motorist on Interstate 35 in Kansas City, Mo., closer to Leavenworth.

Mountain lions, also known as cougars, were once native to Missouri and Kansas, but were eliminated by hunting and habitat destruction. However, Dave Hamilton, a biologist with the Missouri Conservation Department, believes the wild mountain lions may be migrating to his state from South Dakota, Colorado or Texas.

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