- Associated Press - Sunday, September 21, 2014

RAPID CITY, S.D. (AP) - Law enforcement officers in South Dakota have killed three mountain lions so far in September.

Two of the felines had killed farm animals and the third one wandered near a Black Hills business, according to the state Game, Fish & Parks Department. Officials usually consent to the killing of the animals in situations where they are known to have killed livestock, entered municipalities or are obviously starving.

The latest lion to be killed died Sept. 11 after it was reportedly killing goats on a ranch in Custer County, the Rapid City Journal (https://bit.ly/1uVOwME ) reported Sunday. State wildlife biologist Steve Griffin said the male lion was about 18 months old.

A Pennington County Sheriff’s deputy killed a 10-month-old male lion Sept. 9 after it was spotted on a street in Keystone. The feline had been seen dragging a raccoon in an alley close to a business. Griffin said the lion was slightly emaciated and officials agreed to the killing because the animal was in a populated area.

“Any lion within city limits, our policy is removal,” he told the newspaper.

The third killed lion was a female that was caught under a chicken coop in Spearfish. The 18-month-old lion was sick and only weighed 28 pounds.

“It was not in good shape, let’s put it that way,” Griffin said of the animal that should have weighed at least 50 pounds. “When the officer looked at it, he saw it was emaciated so he decided to euthanize it.”

Five mountain lions have also been killed in traffic incidents in 2014. Five lions were struck and killed by a vehicle in each of the past two years, far fewer than the 12 that died in 2011 and 15 in 2010.

The mountain lion hunting season opens Dec. 26 and runs through March 31. Limits for this season are 75 total lions or 50 females.

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Information from: Rapid City Journal, https://www.rapidcityjournal.com

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