A mountain lion killed a calf near Brewster in Blaine County, the first confirmed instance of a mountain lion attack on livestock in modern times in Nebraska, Game and Parks officials said Tuesday.
Blaine County is near the Nebraska National Forest in Halsey.
The calf's owner found the dead calf on April 2. It was dragged about 60 yards from a calving corral into a shelterbelt and extensively fed upon, game and parks officials said in the announcement.
A commission representative examined the carcass and the area on April 3 and found that the carcass suggested a mountain lion could have been responsible. Also, fresh droppings or "scat" were found nearby. A sample was sent to a federal genetics laboratory, which later confirmed that it came from a mountain lion.
The calf’s owner obtained a 30-day permit to kill a mountain lion on his property, in accordance with state statutes. If a lion is killed, the landowner is required by law to transfer the animal to the commission.
Although this is Nebraska's first confirmed livestock loss from a mountain lion in modern times, another landowner killed a young lion March 21 in Sheridan County after it approached a chicken coop and did not flee when the landowner walked within 15 yards of it, the Game and Parks Commission said at the time.
That lion was a 30-pound female.
Lion depredations (attacks or plunderings) are confirmed each year in western states with large lion populations, the Game and Parks Commission said.
In Nebraska, the Pine Ridge area has the largest established population of lions, with an estimated count of 16-22. There have been 104 confirmed sightings in other areas of the state, with most appearing to be males dispersing from the established area. The Niobrara Valley and Wildcat Hills have newly formed lion populations, the Game and Parks Commission says.