The Missouri River as a Wildlife Highway

Published: August 25, 2015

mountain lion

MDC biologist Todd Meese with a mountain lion that was tranquilized in order to take measurements and samples as part of a long term study on the transient mountain lion population in Missouri.
Photo courtesy of MDC.

Presentation by Todd Meese, Wildlife Damage Biologist with Missouri Dept. of Conservation

Original Presentation, August 25, 2015 at Westport Coffeehouse Theater, Kansas City, MO.

Rivers have always served as biological highways, connecting together different locations in a kind of riparian web. As humans continue encroaching on habitat throughout the Midwest, the Missouri River has become an even more important corridor of wildlife dispersal.

Todd Meese’s work with the Missouri Dept. of Conservation has revealed this importance with several species, both those that use the water itself as a highway and those that use the ribbon of forest along the Missouri River as cover for their travels.

Meese discussed his work tracking the movement of the increasing number of mountain lions sighted in the state (55 confirmed sightings since 2002). By detailed DNA analysis, he and his colleagues have determined that most of these are juvenile cats that originated in the Black Hills of South Dakota. Evidence points to the animals using the Missouri and Platte River (NE) corridors as their dispersal highway.

MDC has also been tracking the movements of otters and beaver, both of which use the Missouri River and its tributaries to expand their territory with growing populations. Using these and other species as examples, Meese described the unique stories of these animals, as well as the general concept of our river valleys as important corridors of wildlife movement and habitat expansion.

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The Big Muddy Speakers Series in Kansas City

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Thanks to all of our venue hosts for making this possible! Click here for a list of upcoming presentations» The Big Muddy Speaker Series is also held monthly in Rocheport and St. Charles.

Recordings of Presentations

Kansas City Digital Video has been recording Big Muddy Speaker Series presentations. These are available on their website at this link. Some contain synchronized powerpoint presentations. We will be posting these to the archived presentation pages on Thanks Micheal Morgan and crew for putting this important archive online! The Big Muddy Speaker Series is partially funded by the Columbia Ecological Services Field Office (USFWS) and the Mo. Dept. of Conservation.

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