CAMERON COUNTY, Texas (KVEO) — Texas Game Wardens located a dead mountain lion in Willacy County on Saturday and state it is only the fourth one confirmed seen by them in the Rio Grande Valley in the last 15 years.
According to officials, the young male mountain lion was found in the median off of Highway 77 near the Cameron-Willacy County line.
The feline had road rash, according to a game warden, which suspects them to believe it was struck by a vehicle.
Officials state that this is the fourth mountain lion spotted in the RGV in the last 15 years by the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department.
The other three were spotted at the Las Palomas Wildlife Management Area and the Laguna Atascosa National Wildlife Refuge across that time frame.
However, there are likely to be more present mountain lions in the area, but biologists say the exact number is not possible to track, but likely miniscule.
“The total mountain lion population is small, if any [in the RGV],” said Tony Henehan, TPWD Wildlife Biologist. “The only ones typically down here are males searching for food.”
Henehan says RGV residents should not be concerned about mountain lions attacking them due to the low volume of the animal in the area.
However, he did add tips for what to do in case you are approached by a mountain lion.
“Don’t run away. You want to hold your ground, keep your distance, appear big, and make loud noises,” said Henehan. “You want to do what you can to show the animal you’re there.”
Mountain lions are not typically spotted in the RGV as they do not prefer urban areas, though, Henehan says they may be drawn to the ranch lands in various parts of the area.
Henehan encourages RGV residents to photograph any mountain lion sightings or other exotic animals they might see. He advises them to place a pencil, coin, or any other sizable object next to any footprint they might photograph in order to help scientists scale and confirm the image.
Anyone who spots a mountain lion is encouraged to reach out to Henehan at (956) 532-3009 or by visiting here.