Grassy plains and fluffy clouds on the Nebraska-Wyoming state border.
Photo of landsacape.


Help ensure a future for mountain lions in Nebraska

Along with much of the Midwest, mountain lions were a bountied predator and extirpated from Nebraska by the 1890's. One hundred years later, Nebraska confirmed its first mountain lion. The young lion likely dispersed from the small, newly-established breeding population in the neighboring Black Hills of South Dakota and Wyoming. Ideal mountain lion habitat is limited in the state, but recent data indicates lions may be returning to certain areas. Despite Nebraska's entire mountain lion population being in the low double digits, the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission has allowed sport hunting these animals. Learn more in the tabs below.

  • Return to the portal page for Nebraska.

  • The status of Puma concolor in Nebraska.

  • State law and regulations affecting cougars.

  • The history of cougars in Nebraska.

  • Ecosystems and habitat in Nebraska.

  • Cougar science and research in Nebraska.

  • Our library of media, research and reports.

  • How you can take action to help!

SUMMARY: Cougars in the State of Nebraska

For more detail you can explore using the links below.

The status of Puma concolor.

Though mountain lions once roamed the hills and forests of Nebraska, persecution at the hands of humans has driven them locally extinct in the state. Fear and misinformation were the main forces driving this extirpation. But attitudes have changed since the early 1900s and there's hope for the future.

Click here to learn more about status

Mountain lion law in Nebraska.

In this tab you will find all the governing state statutes, mountain lion legal status, state laws, information about the state legislature, initiative and referendum processes, and the state wildlife agency, mountain lion management plans, mountain lion hunting laws, depredation laws, and other regulations as appropriate.

Click here to learn more about law

The history of lions in the state.

Mountain lions are native to Nebraska but were extirpated from the state by the late 1800s. European settlers participating in the Homestead Act of 1862 staked their claims on the Great Plains and in short time eliminated mountain lions and other predators, considering them threats to safety and livestock. Mountain lion survivors retreated to Wyoming and South Dakota and any who ventured into Nebraska were subject to unregulated hunting and local bounties. In the early 1990s, with game status listing, they began to recolonize in the state, establishing breeding populations once again in western Nebraska.

Click here to learn more about history

Lion habitat in Nebraska.

Though mountain lions once roamed the hills and forests of Nebraska, 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 Nebraska.

Click here to learn more about habitat

The science of lions in the state.

Though mountain lions once roamed the great state of Nebraska, human persecution has eliminated them from its hills and forests. With no mountain lion population to study, there isn't any current research to report in Nebraska.

Click here to learn more about science

Take action for lions.

Mountain lions roamed the forests and hills of Nebraska until the late 1800s when humans hunted and trapped them into local extinction. Despite yearly reported sightings starting in the 1950s, no reported observations were confirmed until 1991 when a hunter shot one. Since then, a small population reestablished themselves in the northwest corner of the state. Though the population is tiny, estimated to be around 20 individuals, Nebraska Governor Dave Heinman signed LB 928 authorizing a mountain lion hunt.

Click here to learn more about action