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03/30/14 Mountain Lions in Arkansas–A follow up on my 1st report

Mountain Lion near Boxley Valley

This is a still taken from a Game Camera of a Mountain Lion near Fallsville Arkansas

Recently I was sent a copy of this video from a game camera near Fallsville Arkansas by David Smith.  The series is about 11 seconds long total, but clearly shows an adult mountain lion.  If one has any doubt, just take the tree in the background for scale.  If you are familiar with the Arkansas woods as I am this is about a 18″ inch and then a smaller 5 or 6 inch tree branching out from the main trunk.  You can see the entire video here:

It’s most interesting to watch this series, as the cat is at first turned away from the camera, then must hear the camera activate.  The cat turns towards the sound of the camera and then moves off the frame right below the camera.  The motion of the mountain lion is very much like any other large cat and is most definitely not a fake or a small cat, bobcat or other creature.  Notice the loping motion as the cat approaches the frame.  It’s also interesting to watch the mountain lion’s head as it comes in closer and begins to look up towards the noise the camera must be making.

mountain lion and game camera

This is another shot of the large mountain lion coming towards the game camera

I have followed all of the comments I have received from my first post on Mountain Lions in Arkansas which have number over 120 total comments.  Taking out about 10% which were fictitious you are left with around 100 comments from people around Arkansas.  Most of these people are reporting sightings within the last 2 years, however some are commenting on sightings which would go back as far as 20 to 30 years ago.

Occasionally I will get a comment where a person is reporting the sighting of a “black panther”, or a mountain lion in a full black phase.  I have looked into the possibility of this.  However so far, worldwide, there have not been any captured, killed or sighted, North American cougars in a black phase.  The panther, which ranges in South America and Mexico, can have a black or dark phase.  You can read more about that here:   Panthers may also have ranged into the southern United States, but so far I have not heard of a panther being sighted in Arkansas.  However many people still claim that they are seeing “black panthers” in this state.  I am not sure what they are seeing.

This camera video for sure tells me that the North American Mountain Lion is alive and well in Arkansas.  The cat shown in this video seems a bit thin, however it’s also March and natural food supplies may not be as readily available.  The fact that his cat was sighted near Fallsville, is what give me a bit of of concern as Fallsville, is very close to the Glory Hole, the upper Buffalo River and several other popular outdoor recreation areas in Northwest Arkansas.

David Smith, the owner of the video, told me that he had sent a copy of this video to the Arkansas Game & Fish, and their only comments were that this was a “significant sighting”.  I believe since the Arkansas Game and Fish are now allowing bow hunters to purchase a mountain lion tag which allows the killing of a mountain lion, they are starting to take mountain lions in Arkansas a bit more seriously.  Hopefully with the number of sightings I have had reported, that many of these have also been reported to the Arkansas Game and Fish.  In the past the standard response has been, “this must be a cat that was released to the wild”, meaning it was not breeding naturally.  This cat looks to have done just that and has matured into an excellent example of the species.