Captured Mountain Lion Under Observation At Tulsa Zoo

Tuesday, April 26th 2011, 3:43 pm
By: News On 6

TULSA, Oklahoma -- A young female mountain lion captured Saturday afternoon in North Tulsa is still under observation at the Tulsa Zoo.

The mountain lion is about 70 pounds and between 1 and 2 years old.

According to a news release from the Tulsa Zoo, the nearest source population for mountain lions is west Texas, northeast New Mexico or the Black Hills of South Dakota.

4/25/2011 Related Story: Mountain Lion Captured In North Tulsa Neighborhood

Females typically have a home range of 25 to 50 square miles, while males have a range of 75 to 200 square miles depending upon prey density. Young males have been known to range that far but there's no documentation of females ranging that far.

The zoo says it is highly unusual for a wild mountain lion to be in a suburban area, since they are extremely shy of humans.  Also, they do not use suburban areas to hunt deer and other prey are available to them in the wild.

"Mountain lions are typically shy of humans, prefer areas with little human activity, and tend to seek rough and rugged areas to live," said Erik Bartholomew, biologist at the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation, "This female mountain lion is not behaving in what I would call a typical manner."

The Tulsa Zoo says in 7 to 10 days the animal to will be examined for tags, tattoos, or signs that it was once captive.

A DNA sample will also be taken to assist in determining its origin. If it is indeed a captive animal based on the information from the exam or the DNA test, then ODWC will work with the Tulsa Zoo to determine the best location for it.

"We would like to thank the Tulsa Zoo for assisting in the capture of the animal, taking care of the animal, and for holding it until its origin can be determined," said Bartholomew.