Mountain Lions Fact Battles Fiction

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Mountain lions have been a popular topic of conversation around South Dakota the past couple of years. While most conversation has centered on factual information, there has been misinformation as well.

"I think with any subject one might find a certain amount of rumor to contend with while sorting through the facts," said Chuck Schlueter, Communications Manager for the Game, Fish and Parks Division of Wildlife. "We have certainly found that to be true with mountain lions."

Schlueter cited an e-mail message that has circulated for some time as one example. "The message portends to be a notice that GFP has issued a dire warning about mountain lion dangers in South Dakota. It then lists classic warnings that are shared with recreationists who will be in the heart of grizzly bear country. This is not factual and it is certainly not a message we would send."

Another rumor claims that GFP has transplanted mountain lions from the Black Hills into different parts of the state. "Neither this agency, nor any other agency has transplanted mountain lions to other parts of the state," Schlueter said. "Just as mountain lions have moved into the Black Hills through natural migration, any mountain lions moving outside the Black Hills have been by their own migration. Trapping and transferring mountain lions is time consuming, expensive and not very effective."

Schlueter pointed to the GFP website for factual information on mountain lions in South Dakota, and common sense safety measures that can be practiced. On the GFP home page, find the link to "Outdoor Education" and then click on the link to "Mountain Lions."

"We want to make sure the citizens of South Dakota have accurate, up-to-date information in their hands on this subject. We also have a printed brochure with very good information in it pertinent to mountain lions in South Dakota," Schlueter said.

Those wishing to receive a copy of this brochure can request one by writing: Information Office; Game, Fish and Parks; 412 West Missouri Avenue; Pierre S.D. 57501.