DALLAS – Texas wildlife officials say they suspect that a mountain lion killed over the weekend was the same one spotted outside of Dallas in recent weeks.
The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department said Tuesday that the mountain lion — an adult male that weighed about 160 pounds — was legally killed Saturday by a deer hunter.
Wildlife officials say mountain lions are very uncommon in North Texas, and they suspect the mountain lion that was killed was the same one seen and photographed in the Dallas suburb of Rowlett in late November and near Princeton — about 20 miles (32 kilometers) to the north — earlier this month.
Meanwhile, wildlife officials and a county sheriff have disagreed on whether a mountain lion could be responsible for the Dec. 3 death of a 28-year-old man in a wooded area near Lipan, located 85 miles (137 kilometers) west of Dallas. The Hood County Sheriff’s Office said the preliminary finding from the Tarrant County Medical Examiner's office said Christopher Allen Whiteley died from an attack by a wild animal, possibly a mountain lion.
The sheriff's office has said that it will wait for the final autopsy report but that, for now, they're standing by the preliminary finding. Wildlife officials said there was no evidence that any wild animal killed Whiteley.
Hood County Justice of the Peace Kathryn Gwinn said it may take as many as three months for the final autopsy to be released. She said the preliminary autopsy showed Whiteley had neck puncture wounds consistent with that of large cat.
Wildlife officials have said mountain lions are very uncommon in North Texas but are common in parts of West and South Texas. They also say that fatal mountain lion attacks on people are very rare, with fewer than 30 people killed by mountain lions across the U.S. in the last 100 years.