Hiker discovers rare mummified mountain lion

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LAS VEGAS — Mountain lion sightings are common in Southern Nevada, but a recent one was truly unusual.

This past weekend, a hiker discovered a mummified mountain lion in the Sheep Range.

The remains were discovered in a cave under a ledge. Volunteer group Red Rock Search and Rescue was training in the area and was asked to retrieve the remains.

A 15-person team, along with a biologist, placed the mountain lion in a cardboard box and carried it delicately.

“It’s just dried out. Think of a mummy. Everything’s just desiccated. The skin’s still intact. It’s still around the bones. The bones are all there,” said Olivia Nizioled with Red Rock Search and Rescue.

In May, the remains will be handed over to a research group.

Experts say mountain lions become mummified when skin and organs are preserved, possibly by exposure to extreme cold, low humidity or a lack of air. It’s not yet known how old the remains are.