Though mountain lions once roamed the hills and forests of Kansas, persecution at the hands of humans drove them locally extinct. If we support open space conservation and preserve corridors connecting potential habitat, we could reverse this situation and bring mountain lions back home to Kansas.
Although mountain lions may be physically capable of living in an area, human activities and attitudes could keep them from reestablishing a population there.
Fragmentation, sport hunting practices, and intolerant communities can wipe out mountain lions from any area.
For more data on
habitat use, check out our various Science tabs.
Before European settlement, mountain lions roamed throughout Kansas and beyond. Perceived conflict with livestock, heavy hunting pressure, conversion of wildlands to agriculture and other forms of habitat loss drove Kansas's mountain lions to local extinction.
There hasn't been much, if any, research specifically addressing potential habitat for mountain lions in the state, but there has been work looking at the importance of potential dispersal corridors across the U.S. LaRue et al. (2007) estimates that 3.6 percent of Kansas could be highly suitable mountian lion habitat, which would be about 7,661 square kilometers. This could potentially provide a home for a small population of mountain lions. In addition, a viable population in each state would help provide potential dispersing individuals to help repopulate neighboring states.
Establishing mountain lion-friendly legislation and management practices will likely need to play a role in allowing this top carnivore to return to the great state of Missouri. Check out our Action Tab to see what you can do to help!