Mountain lions, also known as cougars or pumas, had not been seen in the state of Kentucky since before the Civil War. One suddenly appeared this Monday on a Kentucky farm, however.
The big cat was treed by a dog, and a local wildlife officer came to the aid of the farm residents. It was 5:30PM and getting dark, and it would likely be several hours before someone could come to tranquilize the animal. Therefore, to prevent the lion from escaping and hurting people in the nearby area, the officer shot the mountain lion.
Mountain lions used to live in eastern states like Kentucky, but they were wiped out over 100 years ago. They have been restricted largely to the far western states, especially the Rocky Mountains, for quite some time. In recent years, however, they have expanded their domain. Terry Richardson is quick to point to the fact that lion colonies have popped up in South Dakota, Nebraska, Missouri, Indiana, and Illinois. The Mississippi River is a major barrier to their migration, but it has not stopped them.
These big cats can get up to eight feet long and weigh up to 180 pounds. They have little to fear from anything but man since they are on the top of the food chain. They generally feed on deer and other game, but on rare occasion may attack a human being. There have only been 22 such attacks, however, in the last 120 years.