Possible mountain lion sighting in Kansas City

Thursday, April 15, 2004

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) -- State conservation officials believe it was a bobcat, and not a mountain lion, that was spotted near the Clay-Platte county line last weekend.

A woman saw the big cat, the size of a large dog, on Sunday near a church. It ran away as she walked closer, conservation officials said. A search for tracks Wednesday turned up nothing, but late last week a bobcat or mountain lion killed a whitetail deer near the Missouri River close to Parkville.

Bobcats, which are smaller to mountain lions, are frequently sighted in area, conservation officials said.

"This certainly looks like a cat killed that deer," Wendy Sangster, a wildlife biologist for the Missouri Department of Conservation said. "But the deer was small, only about 70 pounds, which leads me to believe a bobcat could have done it."

Steve Nichols, the department's conservation agent in Platte County, receives three or four calls a month about big cats seen in the area. A large bobcat was filmed on home video in a back yard last year. He believes almost all the sighting are bobcats and most confirmed cases have been young males felines.

Other sightings of the cats, also called cougars and pumas, have occurred around Missouri and Iowa in recent years.

In 2002, a mountain lion was killed by police in Kansas City after it was hit by a car on Interstate 35.

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