Kentucky cougar investigation “a couple of weeks” from completion

The investigation into whether a cougar that was killed by Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife last month in Bourbon County was wild or domestic is still ongoing, according to the Courier Journal. DNA was sent out-of-state for testing and should shed light on the origins of Kentucky’s first cougar since the Civil War.

Kentucky officials believe, in all likelihood, that the cat was a released or escaped pet. However, if it turned out to be a wild cougar dispersing from western or mid-western populations, it would be another incredible example of the animal’s capacity to roam and recolonize habitat it has been extirpated from. Many have raised the question of whether Kentucky officials were too “trigger happy” in their handling of the situation. It would be particularly tragic if this lion did turn out to be a wild cat, and would raise further questions over whether eastern states are prepared for cougar recolonization.

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