Young Mountain Lions Killed

Arizona Game and Fish authorities say the big cats were slayed legally after wandering too close to human habitats.

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Cat Mountain LionTwo juvenile mountain lions a male and a female believed to be siblings were killed in central Arizona when each separately wandered onto humans property and killed other animals.

The most recent incident occurred on April 10, when a young female cougar was shot and killed after she returned to an enclosed stable in the Old Town Cottonwood area between Phoenix and Flagstaff, where she had killed a miniature pet goat the day before.

Arizona Game and Fish officials suspect the young female was a sibling to a male mountain lion that was killed after an incident last month. In that incident, the male cougar killed a raccoon and attacked Clarksdale Mayor Doug Von Gausig's dog in a residential area.

A hunter lured the animal away, then killed him near the Verde River.

As part of an ongoing investigation into mountain lions that frequent urban areas, Game and Fish researchers have sampled DNA from both animals to determine if they are related.

Game and Fish agent Tom Bagley said both animals were about 7 or 8 months old, which is very young for mountain lions to be on their own. Usually cougars keep close to their mothers for up to the first two years of life.

Researchers believe that the two mountain lions, found a mile and a half apart, were brother and sister and may have been abandoned by a mother who was killed before the cubs reached adulthood.

Posted: April 17, 2006, 5:00 a.m. EST

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