River in Lisbon, Missouri
Photo of landsacape.


Help ensure a future for mountain lions in Missouri

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.

  • 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!


We need volunteers in your area!

Please sign up for email updates or email volunteer @ mountainlion.org for more information about becoming a local field representative for MLF.

Here's what you can do:

Immediate Steps:

  1. Build a coalition to learn from and educate people on how to peacefully coexist with the mountain lion population.
  2. Contribute a positive voice. Write a letter to your local newspaper expressing your excitement about local mountain lions and your views on the importance of protecting them.
  3. Distribute educational information on how residents can protect their pets and livestock. Consider animal shelters, veterinary clinics, 4H clubs, Scouting organizations, FFA, shooting clubs, and any other pertinent public locations as potential outlets.
  4. Email policy@mountainlion.org and suggest local officials friendly to mountain lion conservation in Missouri.

Interim Steps:

  1. Become familiar with Missouri Department of Conservation mountain lion regulations. Reach out to MLF and wildlife experts. Then attend relevant town, commission and council meetings and ask them to:
    1. Develop a Mountain Lion Management Plan that will protect mountain lion habitat and prevent any intentional killings not required to eliminate an immediate threat to human life.
  2. Develop a Mountain Lion Management Plan that will protect mountain lion habitat and prevent any intentional killings not required to eliminate an immediate threat to human life.
    1. Ask that mountain lions be removed from classification as a fur bearing animal and recommend they be added to the list of Missouri’s endangered species.
    2. Ask them to require non-lethal steps be taken to remove or deter mountain lions from damaging property before considering lethal action.
    3. Ask for increased penalties on the poaching of mountain lions - to a degree large enough to deter even the consideration of such an act.

Long term Steps:

  1. Request to meet with your state legislators about revising chapter four of Missouri’s Wildlife Code.
    1. Ask for mandatory preventative measures by farmers or ranchers intended to avoid situations in which mountain lions may be taken for depredation.
    2. Address depredation permitting. Require non-lethal be used first.

ON AIR: Phil Carter - One Step Forward, Two Steps Back

03/19/13 An Audio Interview with Julie West, MLF Broadcaster

In this edition of our audio podcast ON AIR, MLF Volunteer Julie West interviews mountain lion program manager Phil Carter of Animal Protection of Missouri. Carter discusses the often ridiculous lengths the Missouri Department of Game and Fish will go to to disregard the public, bury scientific research, and ignore all common sense. Trying to protect mountain lions in Missouri and incorporate the best science into management has turned into a game of one step forward, two steps back.

Click here to view our Activist Guide...

Becoming a Mountain Lion Activist

There are lots of opportunities to take action!

Are you new to mountain lion activism? You want to change your local environment to improve it for cougars... but you don't know how to start. You may feel like you are all alone... but it takes just one person to change the attitudes and lifestyles of hundreds of others. You don't need to belong to a group. It doesn't take special skills or superhuman abilities. You just need to care enough about cougars to want to help them survive. You've already done the hard part, now let us help you with the next step.

Click here to open a new window and visit the agency's website...

Missouri Department of Conservation.

Commonly abbreviated as: MDC

Bob Ziehmer, Director

Main Office:
2901 W. Truman Blvd.
Jefferson City, MO 65109
(573) 751-4115

Wildlife Management Coordinator
Alan Leary and Evan Grusenmeyer
PO Box 180
2901 W. Truman Blvd.
Jefferson City, MO 65109
(573) 522-4115 ext 3693

Please write to the director and express your concern for mountain lions in Missouri.

Thank the agency when they take steps to protect our state's cougars. When they fall short of expectations, politely ask for policy reform and more officer training.