Despite evidence to the contrary, a rancher who lives near the rural community of Ainsworth, Nebraska is spouting stories about marauding mountain lions and continuing his private campaign to generate public fear and hostility against these much maligned animals.
The rancher claims that two of his horses sustained serious injuries from a mountain lion on the night on June 30th. A Nebraska Game and Parks warden investigated and concluded from the evidence available that the injuries sustained by the horses were a result of contact with a barbed-wire fence.
"We did not find any evidence of mountain lion presence or attack on the horses," said Sam Wilson, Nebraska Game and Parks Commission's Furbearing and Nongame Mammals Program Manager. "All injuries to the horses were consistent with entanglement on barbed wire. That is exactly what we found during our investigation. We saw an area where the grass was trampled, it had blood, hair, and flesh and part of a fly mask from the injured horses on the barbed wire. We also looked for tracks and any evidence of mountain lions was not found. We set up cameras and did not get any pictures of mountain lions."
While admitting that his horse's injuries could have been caused by barbed wire, the rancher still insists that a mountain lion spooked his horses and refuses to believe that other animals such as coyotes, or a pack of domestic dogs were involved.
Sam Wilson said that even if there were mountain lions they pose little to no threat to livestock.
"Mountain lion attacks on any livestock are rare. It is even more rare for horses. We have had very few problems with depredation where livestock are injured by an attack by a mountain lion. We have investigated 120 cases where a livestock owner believes livestock may have been injured by a mountain lion. In only one case have we found evidence of a mountain lion."