Oklahoma Mountain Lion Migrated From Black Hills, South Dakota

Fell Marine

DNA analysis of a mountain lion that was struck and killed by a motorist near Minco show the cat journeyed from the Black Hills of South Dakota.

The 130-pound male mountain lion was killed by a motorist and found dead along SH 81 north of Minco in November.

The Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation collected tissue from the cat for DNA testing.

“The cat’s DNA shows a very close genetic relationship to wild populations in South Dakota,” said Erik Bartholomew, furbearer biologist for the state Wildlife Department. “We can say with a high level of confidence that this male was born in the Black Hills region. Another clue that this animal is wild is the fact that it had porcupine quills in its stomach.

“Apparently mountain lions consider them to be good eating, or maybe they are easy to catch, but many times western states report mountain lions with porcupine quills in their front legs and digestive tract.”

A small tooth from the mountain lion’s jaw also was tested to determine the age of the cat.

Much like the rings on a tree, the root portion of the tooth has rings that can be used by experts to age the animal.

The Minco mountain lion was at least 3-years-old.

“We have no idea the path he used to get to Oklahoma,” Bartholomew said. “However, with him being killed near the South Canadian (River), he likely was following the river where their primary prey, white-tailed deer, would be in high abundance.”

Male mountain lions will sometimes roam great distances.

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Fell Marine