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Archive for Friday, July 2, 2004

Cougar ‘shot’ on campus lands on T-shirt, cups

Proceeds from sale to pay for DNA testing on animal droppings

July 2, 2004

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The mountain lion that haunted Kansas University's campus has been seen again -- but this time it's on a T-shirt and a coffee mug.

The items featuring a photo of a cougar prowling the KU West Campus area are being sold online at http://www.cafeshops.com/kucougar.





And the man who set up the online shop and snapped a controversial picture of the animal hopes proceeds will help provide funds for further testing on cougar droppings he found on West Campus.

"The original DNA test back in December determined it was a cougar. But there's additional tests to determine the gender and origin of the critter," said Mark Jakubauskas, a KU professor who works on west campus.

Jakubauskas said he set up the Web site partly for fun and partly to help prove a mountain lion was on the campus.

He's a research assistant professor in the KU Biological Survey's Kansas Applied Remote Sensing Program. But he's been hunting for the cougar in his spare time.

"It's not an officially sanctioned activity at the biological survey," he said.

Jakubauskas took the photo that appears on the items last fall with an automatic motion detector camera.

The photo, which was published on the front page of the Journal-World and several other Kansas newspapers, spurred a debate among wildlife officials as to whether it really was a mountain lion.

It challenged the accepted notion that Kansas has had no population of wild cougars since the last one was killed a century ago.

Jakubauskas also found animal droppings near the site he put up the camera.

An intial DNA analysis Jakubauskas paid for himself showed the scat came from a mountain lion rather than some other animal, he said.

"Any proceeds, if any, we'll put it to use finishing the DNA test," he said.

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