The Arkansas Game and Fish Commission announced yesterday that the mountain lion killed by a deer hunter in Bradley County last November originated in the Black Hills region of South Dakota; almost 1,200 miles away.
Wildlife Genetics Laboratory (WGL) in Missoula, Montana conducted the DNA test. Using a database which includes mountain lion samples from populations in South Dakota, North Dakota, Nebraska, Montana, Idaho, Wyoming, Colorado, New Mexico, Arizona, Texas, Oregon and Florida, WGL concluded that the mountain lion most likely originated in the Black Hills breeding population of Wyoming and South Dakota.
They also believe that this was the same lion spotted just six weeks before in Marion County (180 miles away).
At one time, mountain lions lived throughout Arkansas until they were extirpated by humans in 1920. Since then, the presence of mountain lions in Arkansas has been rare with only the record of the killing of one in Montgomery County in 1949, followed by a second in Ashley County twenty years later (1969), and a third in Logan County in 1975.
The Bradley County lion became the first mountain lion to be killed in Arkansas in 40-years.
Not including the recently killed lion, there have only been 7 confirmed sightings of mountain lions in Arkansas over the past five years.
A confirmed breeding population has yet to be discovered.