Mountain lion caught and released in Missouri

The cougar sat calmly in a cage for a while, but became irritated as people gathered around.

A mountain lion caught in southeast Missouri is back out in the wild.

A Reynolds County commissioner said he caught the 122-pound cat with a live trap he set on national forest land. His intention was to catch bobcats, coyotes and raccoons. On Wednesday he found the mountain lion alive in the trap.

Missouri Department of Conservation officials took the big cat in for examination. They said the animal was about 2 years old, was in excellent physical condition, and showed no signs of being held in captivity.

Video taken by those on the scene showed the mountain lion hissing and visibly upset inside a cage. However, photos of the same cat recovering from being sedated show the animal in a serene state.

Once conservation officials wrapped up, they released the mountain lion in the Current River Conservation Area.

The Conservation Department said it does not plan to stock mountain lions, but wants to learn more about those living in the Show-Me State.

2011 was a big year for mountain lions in Missouri. MDC confirmed 14 mountain lion sightings. That is more than all previous confirmed sightings combined. Hunters or landowners killed three of the cougars.

Missourians are encouraged to call the nearest MDC office and report any type of mountain lion sighting, whether itâ??s an actual animal or evidence that one was nearby.

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