River in Lisbon, Missouri
 
Photo of landsacape.

MOUNTAIN LIONS IN THE STATE OF MISSOURI

Help ensure a future for mountain lions in Missouri

Missouri killed its last known indigenous lion in 1927. The species was eventually placed on the State's endangered species list and protected although this protection was removed in 2006. Lions were gone for nearly seventy years. Eventually some dispersing individuals wandered over from western states. In February 2012 Missouri Senate Bill 738 was introduced by Senator Stouffer to provide a legal basis for anyone to kill a mountain lion in Missouri, at any time, for any reason. If passed, this bill would have removed any last shred of protection for mountain lions in Missouri. Thanks to people like you speaking out, this bill was defeated.

    USE THE TABS TO THE LEFT TO EXPLORE:
  • Return to the portal page for Missouri.

  • The status of puma concolor in Missouri.

  • State law and regulations affecting cougars.

  • The history of cougars in Missouri.

  • Ecosystems and habitat in Missouri.

  • Cougar science and research in Missouri.

  • Our library of media, research and reports.

  • How you can take action to help!

SUMMARY: Cougars in the State of Missouri

For more detail you can explore using the links below.

The status of puma concolor.

Missouri killed its last known indigenous lion in 1927. The species was eventually placed on the State's endangered species list and protected although this protection was removed in 2006. Lions were gone for nearly seventy years. Eventually some dispersing individuals wandered over from western states. In February 2012 Missouri Senate Bill 738 was introduced by Senator Stouffer to provide a legal basis for anyone to kill a mountain lion in Missouri, at any time, for any reason. If passed, this bill would have removed any last shred of protection for mountain lions in Missouri. Thanks to people like you speaking out, this bill was defeated.

Click here to learn more about status

Mountain lion law in Missouri.

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.

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The history of lions in the state.

Mountain lions are native to Missouri, but heavy human persecution drove them locally extinct by 1927. The species was eventually placed on the State's endangered species list and protected with only a handful of confirmed sightings since 1994. Despite the lack of a renewed population, the state ESA protection was removed in 2006. Though most ‘mountain lion sightings’ in Missouri end up being misidentifications of dogs, bobcats, coyotes, deer and other animals, every once in awhile an occasional dispersing individual wanders over from western states.

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Lion habitat in Missouri.

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

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The science of lions in the state.

Though mountain lions once roamed the great state of Missouri, 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 Missouri.

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Take action for lions.

Missouri once had abundant mountain lions that roamed the forests and hills. However, human activities killed off the state's puma population in the early 1900s. Nearly 100 years later, increasing numbers of potential sightings convinced the Missouri Department of Conservation to establish the Mountain Lion Response Team in 1996. Though many reports have been confirmed, Missouri does not have a permanent, self-sustaining breeding population of mountain lions. Mountain lions in Missouri are classified as a furbearing animal. While mountain lions are currently not listed as an endangered species, state law does allow Missouri's officials to designate a species as endangered even if not listed as endangered or threatened by the United States Department of the Interior.

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