JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (KMOX) — It’s currently illegal to kill a mountain lion in Missouri, but some Senators want to change the law.

Since 1994 the Department has confirmed 28 mountain lion sightings, half of them in the last year.

Aaron Jeffries of the Missouri Department of Conservation says although the Department released a lion last year, the animals are considered too dangerous to just let the population grow.

“The department has no intentions of re-introducing mountain lions to the state,” Jeffries said, during testimony yesterday on a bill legalizing the destruction of the big cats, sponsored by Missouri Senator Bill Stouffer.

Stouffer believes mountain lions should not be considered wildlife. “We should define the mountain lion as an invasive species instead,” Stouffer says.

Animal advocate Stuart Keating spoke up on behalf of the lions. “We would like to point out that mountain lions had been spotted here, long before settlement of Missouri. That begs the question, who is really the invasive species?”

Jeffries also stressed that there are no record in recent years of mountain lions injuring residents in Missouri.

If the legislation passes, killing a mountain lion would be legal, as long as you turn the carcass in within 24 hours.

(KMOX © Copyright 2011 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2011 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. )


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