Officials in Valentine, Nebraska shot and killed a mountain lion last Thursday, a few days after the wild animal disrupted a local golf tournament, the Nebraska Examiner reported.
The 103-pound “subadult” male had been spotted on a trail camera crossing the eighth-hole green at the Frederick Peak Golf Course in Valentine on the morning of Sept. 19, said the local media outlet, quoting the golf course's management.
While none of the participants saw the lion, the tournament was cancelled midway as a precautionary measure.
'Within city limits'
A spokesperson of the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission confirmed to USA TODAY that the mountain lion was killed to ensure public safety. However, they did not clarify where the mountain lion was killed.
In the event of a mountain lion sighting in a town or city, police have the authority to remove it safely, without causing harm, to ensure public safety under the Mountain Lion Response Plan by Game and Parks, the spokesperson shared.
"The Nebraska Game and Parks and the Valentine Police Department jointly responded to a confirmed report of a mountain lion in the city," an official statement by the commission reads. "With public safety our top priority, the agencies responded according to Nebraska’s Mountain Lion Response Plan."
Mountain lions are part of Nebraska's natural diversity though attacks are rare.
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Why can't mountain lions be relocated?
The spokesperson said that mountain lions cannot be relocated for the following reasons:
Nebraska does not have large tracts of public land with adequate habitat for a lion to be relocated. Nebraska is approximately 98% privately owned. Any mountain lion moved could quickly enter private land.
Zoos typically do not accept adult mountain lions that have lived in the wild as these animals are stressed by people and confinement and do not do well in zoos.
Tranquilizers can take up to 10 minutes to take effect, and animals often run after being darted. These animals may be difficult or impossible to relocate and may cross into traffic or highly populated areas in a partially drugged state.
In 2022, Game and Parks approved mountain lion hunting with a maximum harvest of four cats, with a sub-limit of two females.
The goal of the harvest is to maintain the well-being and vitality of the mountain lion population by preventing an increase or a slight decrease in its size.
Saman Shafiq is a trending news reporter for USA TODAY. Reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow her on X, the platform formerly known as Twitter @saman_shafiq7.
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This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Nebraska officials shoot, kill mountain lion spotted on golf course