The Native Village of Tazlina had set up a game camera to find out what had been taking fish from our Tribal Fishwheel and this is what we found. There has been a couple Mt. Lion (Puma concolor) sighting in the last year and one struck by a vehicle last winter. I spoke with a couple Elders and they both said that old Lions come up into our region to die. I saw one in Kenny Lake about 35 years ago and everyone thought I was telling stories but I know what I had seen. I estimate about three and a half feet to back by measuring tree.
This is the second sighting of a Mountain Lion in Alaska reported to LEO Network. The first dating back to 2008 was in Venetie. There are some indications that Mountain Lion could be increasing in Alaska.The range expansion of mule deer into the Interior may be one possible driver. Alaska Department of Fish & Game has been notified of this observation.
Mountain lions sighting are reported every year in Alaska, but the cats are so rare in the state that accounts often take on the mythical quality of Bigfoot sightings.Reports have come from as far north and west as the Kenai Peninsula and the Palmer area, but the most credible accounts come from Southeast Alaska, which is adjacent to known populations in neighboring British Columbia. Mountain Lions in Alaska, by Riley Woodford, Alaska Fish & Wildlife News, ADF&G. February 2004.
Every few years Fish and Game gets a report of a cougar sighting in Alaska. In October 2017 a woman reported seeing what she thought was a cougar in Ketchikan. Although the cats are fairly rare in northern British Columbia, biologists estimate there are about 3,500 mountain lions in Southern B.C. - and Vancouver Island has one of the highest densities of mountain lions in the world. Cougars in Alaska by Riley Woodford, Alaska Fish & Wildlife News, ADF&G. November 2017.
Mt. Lion in Interior Alaska, about 3 and a half feet at back. (Photo courtesy of Willard Hand)
Photo Courtesy of Willard Hand
Cougar range map. Note they are today also in Yukon Territory.