Rare Sight In Alaska: Mountain Lion Shot On Wrangell Island

Alaska has its share of predators, but it’s been decades since a mountain lion, a fixture throughout other parts of North America, was found shot within the state. But as Outdoor Life reports, it’s happened for the first tine in 35 years:

Because of Wrangell Island’s proximity to British Columbia, which is home to an estimated population of 5,000 to 7,000 mountain lions, it’s likely that the mountain lion wandered over from there. It’s fewer than 30 miles as the crow flies from the eastern edge of the island to the international border. 

A narrow channel separates Wrangell Island from the thin strip of mainland Alaska bordering B.C., which means the lion would have had to swim to get there. This might seem a limiting factor, but mountain lions are shockingly good swimmers. Vancouver Island, which is separated from the B.C. mainland by several straits, is home to a well-established cougar population.

Here’s the Alaska Wildlife Troopers dispatch:


Location: Wrangell

Type: Wildlife Investigation

Dispatch Text:

On June 3, 2024, at approximately 8:00 pm, the Alaska Wildlife Troopers became aware that a mountain lion was shot on Wrangell Island. The Alaska Wildlife Troopers, Alaska Department of Fish and Game, and US Forest Service responded and took possession of the mountain lion. An investigation is ongoing into the circumstances surrounding the mountain lion’s death.