JEFFERSON CITY — Sightings of mountain lions have been on the rise in Missouri, and some of those cats turn out to be visitors from other states.
The Missouri Conservation Department says it confirmed 14 mountain lion sightings in 2011, up from a total of 12 in the previous 16 years.
The agency said Tuesday it was able to recover samples of tissue or hair from four of the cats that were spotted last year. The samples were matched against the mountain lion DNA databases kept by 11 western states.
The tests showed two young male cougars found in Missouri last year came from the Black Hills area of South Dakota. A third mountain lion had relatives in Colorado, and a fourth was traced to central Montana.