The Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism provided an update this week on a mountain lion that was shot and killed by bird hunters earlier this year in north-central Kansas' Rooks County.
In May, the KDWPT sent tissue samples from the cougar, which were collected in January, to the United States Forest Service’s Rocky Mountain Research Station in Missoula, Mont., for genetic testing.
The agency revealed in a Facebook post on Wednesday that the lion — determined to be a male after a necropsy rather than a female as initially reported — has a 99.8% probability of belonging to the South Dakota/Nebraska breeding population that includes animals sampled from the Black Hills.
The KDWPT initially reported the hunters had found the mountain lion carcass while hunting. The Clay Center Dispatch later reported that the hunters had shot the cougar after it threatened the group and their dogs.
The big cat marked Kansas' 21st confirmed mountain lion sighting since 1990, though there were no confirmed sightings between 1990 and 2005. Rooks County also had a confirmed cougar sighting on Aug. 3, 2015, when a photo was taken of a big cat in that area.