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Published on: Mar. 20, 2012

day it is collected; only feed your animals what they can eat that day. Bears that learn to associate food with people can cause property damage in their search for food around houses.

Mountain Lions

The mountain lion is also known by the names puma, cougar, panther, painter and catamount. It, and the much smaller bobcat, are the only wild felines native to Missouri.

Mountain lions’ tendency to travel long distances occasionally lands these cats in seemingly inappropriate areas, even places densely settled by humans. We’ve documented cats near St. Louis and Kansas City, but these incidents are almost always brief, with the animal moving along quickly in its search of a mate. Mountain lions are rarely sighted, even in areas with resident populations. They tend to hunt and travel at night.

Mountain lion attacks on humans are extremely rare. In North America, roughly 25 fatalities and 95 nonfatal attacks have been reported during the past 100 years. Black bear attacks occur at higher rates, 50 fatalities in the past 100 years. It is important to keep these numbers in perspective. For every one person killed by a black bear, 45 people are killed by domestic dogs, 120 by bee stings and 250 by lightning strikes.

If you encounter a bear or mountain lion, do not escalate the situation by approaching, crowding around or chasing the animal. Pick up small children so they do not run, scream or panic. Restrain dogs. Maintain eye contact, raise your arms to look bigger and back away slowly. For a bear or mountain lion that has climbed up a tree, the best thing you can do is leave it alone. Because these animals are naturally afraid of humans, any animal that feels cornered will be looking for an escape route. By keeping people and pets away, you give these animals the best chance to come down from the tree and leave on their own.

Legal Classifications

Both black bears and mountain lions are protected by our Wildlife Code. Bears and mountain lions that are attacking humans or their livestock may be killed without prior permission. Animals killed under this rule must be reported immediately to an agent of the Department, and the intact carcass, including pelt, must be surrendered to the agent within 24 hours.

MDC is not reintroducing or stocking mountain lions or bears. We want to learn more about black bears and

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