Mountain lion killed on State Highway 81 studied by biologists

A 130-pound mountain lion was found along State Highway 81 earlier this week and is being studied to determine how old it was and what it had eaten in recent days.
BY MATT PATTERSON Staff Writer mpatterson@opubco.com Modified: November 2, 2011 at 11:21 pm •  Published: November 2, 2011
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Biologists from the state Wildlife Conservation Department are examining the body of a mountain lion that was struck and killed by a vehicle Tuesday.

The 130-pound male was hit somewhere along State Highway 81 near Minco and was turned in to the department by a passerby.

Wildlife Conservation Department biologist Erik Bartholomew said the animal was probably about 2 years old based on the condition of his teeth, though an exact age cannot be determined until a sample tooth has been fully analyzed.

“We believe he is a sub-adult because he still has some faint spotting on his back legs and belly,” Bartholomew said. “His teeth were in excellent shape. The older these animals get the more worn down their teeth get.”

Biologists will take measurements of the body and head and will also examine fully the contents of the mountain lion's stomach. Bartholomew said early indications are the mountain lion consumed a porcupine because a quill was found in its stomach.

Such sightings are rare in Oklahoma, particularly in areas near large cities. Bartholomew said the most likely place to find one in Oklahoma is in the far western part of the state, though a sighting was confirmed near Sand Springs in the Tulsa area earlier this year.

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