May 27, 2018
Keith Stephens Chief of Communications
MAMMOTH SPRING – The Arkansas Game and Fish Commission confirmed the sighting of a mountain lion near Mammoth Spring in northern Arkansas. A game camera photo of a mountain lion was taken in January and sent to the AGFC earlier this month. Biologists were able to verify the photo and its location.
The photo came from private land near the Sharp and Fulton county line. This is the 14th confirmed Arkansas sighting of a mountain lion since 2010.
In November 2014, a deer hunter shot and killed a 148-pound male mountain lion east of Hermitage in Bradley County. It was the first time a mountain lion had been killed in Arkansas since 1975 in Logan County. DNA from that animal revealed that it almost certainly came from a mountain lion sighted in September 2014 in southern Marion County.
According to lab results, the mountain lion killed in 2014 most likely originated in the Black Hills breeding population of Wyoming and South Dakota. “The mountain lion traveled from Marion County to Bradley County in about six weeks before it was killed. That shows you how far a mountain lion can travel in a short period,” AGFC Large Carnivore Biologist Myron Means said.
Mountain lions – also known as pumas and cougars – lived throughout Arkansas until about 1920. The AGFC offered bounties and hired trappers to control predators during 1927-29. At least 255 wolves and 523 bobcats were killed, but no mountain lions were taken. A number of mountain lion sightings in Missouri, Oklahoma and Louisiana also have been confirmed in recent years.
Mountain lions are solitary and elusive, and their nature is to avoid humans. For those mountain lion sightings with verifiable evidence, the public is encouraged to contact the nearest AGFC office.