By: Nick Jakusz Posted at: 09/12/2009 07:37 AM
LINCOLN – With an increase in confirmed mountain lion sightings in the Panhandle in recent years, the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission wants to ensure people are aware of its policies regarding the cats.
"Mountain lions are native to Nebraska, but to ensure the species be secure in Nebraska over the long term, the Commission recognizes that mountain lions that depredate on livestock, threaten humans or enter towns should be killed, Commission Director Rex Amack said. "Mountain lions that are not interacting with humans or livestock are fully protected by law."
State Sen. LeRoy Louden of Ellsworth is aware of mountain lion sightings in his area. He represents District 49, which includes the northern Panhandle and part of the western Sandhills.
"There are reports confirmed by the Commission and pictures of mountain lions in the area that are published in newspapers," Louden said. "I want citizens to know they have the right to defend themselves, family and property against mountain lions."
The following are facts and Commission policies from the Mountain Lion Response Plan:
-- A mountain lion may be destroyed by a landowner if it attacks or attempts to attack livestock.
-- People may defend themselves by killing a mountain lion if it attacks or shows aggression toward them.
-- If a landowner believes livestock has been killed or injured by a mountain lion, the scene should be left undisturbed and the Commission contacted immediately.
-- If evidence of depredation by a mountain lion exists and a landowner wants action, an attempt will by made to prevent further damage by killing the mountain lion.
-- An attempt will be made by the Commission or local law enforcement to kill a mountain lion that is confirmed to be within town limits.
-- Anyone who kills a mountain lion for any reason must contact the Commission immediately and surrender the carcass.
-- By law, a mountain lion will be left undisturbed if it is not threatening people and has not caused depredation.
Anyone who observes a mountain lion should contact the nearest Commission office or call (402) 471-0641.
For more information on mountain lions in Nebraska, go to http://www.ngpc.state.ne.us/wildlife/mountainlion.asp
Learn more about big cats and Big Cat Rescue at http://www.bigcatrescue.org