Though mountain lions once roamed throughout Texas,
persecution at the hands of humans has driven them locally extinct in the eastern portion of the state.
Fear and misinformation, as well as overhunting and habitat fragmentation were the main forces driving this extirpation.
But attitudes have changed since the early 1900s and there's hope for the future.
If we support mountain lion-friendly legislation, open space conservation, and preserve corridors connecting potential habitat, we could reverse this situation and bring mountain lions back home to all of Texas.
Texas is home to the southern and eastern extent of the U. S. mountain lion population. Mountain lions continue to survive, despite unlimited hunting, habitat loss, and no legal protections. In fact, mountain lions may be hunted or trapped at any time using any legal method in Texas. Though the survive in the western portion of the state, habitat loss and fragmentation, extreme reductions in prey populations, and unregulated hunting and trapping, have led to its extirpation from the eastern portion of the state by the early 1900's.
Starting in the 90s, mountain lions started recolonizing East Texas. It's possible that mountain lions could use habitat in East Texas to recolonize previously occupied habitat in Arkansas and Louisiana, though it is unlikely given Texas's current policies towards mountain lions and expanding human development. Texas Parks and Wildlife biologists predict that human development in East Texas will continue increase, further fragmenting already imperiled habitat.