The last two confirmed sightings of a mountain lion in Kentucky occurred in the following time periods: before the Civil War, and on Monday. The cat, once native to the state, hadn't been spotted for more than a century until a farmer alerted the state Department of Fish and Wildlife earlier this week that one had sought shelter from a barking dog in a tree. With evening setting in and facing an hours-long wait for a tranquilizer-armed state veterinarian, an officer with the department opted to shoot and kill the cat, rather than risk it slinking off to the nearby city of Paris.
It's unclear if the mountain lion, also known as a cougar, was wild or an escaped pet; a necropsy performed Tuesday should help determine that. Cougars have been moving eastward in recent years, but a biologist tells the Courier-Journal there's little to fear: 22 cougar-related deaths have been logged in the last 120 years. (Read more cougar stories.)