Arkansas Game and Fish Commission
2 Natural Resources Drive
Little Rock, AR 72205
November 20, 2003
found dead in Lonoke County
Blake Sasse, the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission’s nongame mammal biologist said, “It seems likely that this was a pet that somebody dumped after it died.” The carcass was taken to the University of Arkansas at Little Rock’s biology department, Sasse said. Dr. Gary Heidt and Dr. Robert Sikes conducted a necropsy of the animal and did not find any physical injuries to indicate it had been shot or hit by a car. No food was found in its stomach, but the animal was in very good physical condition and had not starved to death. It is possible that it was killed by its owner using drugs or gas.
The Florida panther (Felis concolor coryi), also known as mountain lion, puma or cougar was historically present throughout Arkansas, but was exterminated by about 1920. From 1927 to 1929, the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission offered bounties and hired several trappers as part of a predator control program. Although an intense effort resulted in the deaths of at least 255 wolves and 523 bobcats, no mountain lions were killed.
The elimination of the Florida panther throughout its range in the early part of the 20th century was complete with the exception of the vicinity of the Big Cypress National Preserve in southern Florida where the only population of Florida panthers recognized by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service still survives.
There have been at least eight incidents since 1997 when pet mountain lions have escaped or were intentionally released from captivity in Arkansas and all of these animals were either shot or recaptured.
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