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PARIS, Ky. (AP) — An examination of a mountain lion killed by a Kentucky Fish and Wildlife official has found that it was a 125-pound male that appeared to be young and healthy.
But Fish and Wildlife officials still don't know whether it was a wild animal or one that escaped from captivity.
"It seemed to be in very healthy condition, and they determined pretty quickly that it didn't look like it had traveled long distances on foot," agency spokesman Mark Marraccini said.
An agency officer shot and killed the mountain lion after a concerned caller spotted it in northern Bourbon County.
Marraccini says the lion was killed because it was roaming free near a populated area, making it a public safety issue.
He said if the mountain lion was a wild animal, it apparently would be the first one confirmed in Kentucky since before the Civil War.
"But that is a pretty big 'if,'" he said. "They took some measurements today, but that's certainly not enough to go on without looking at everything in total."
The animal's DNA will be sent to an out-of-state wildlife lab to determine whether its genetic material matches any wild populaitons.
"They can determine the origin," Marraccini said, though it won't be fast. He said it could take weeks to get an answer.
Mountain lions, which also are known as cougars and panthers, are the largest cats found in North America.
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