A mountain lion accidentally caught in a bobcat trap in Dawes County was euthanized Monday.
A conservation officer determined the mountain lion was pulling out the stakes that anchor the trap and would not survive if it escaped with the trap and stakes attached, the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission said in a news release.
The trap had been set legally, and the trapper called Game and Parks immediately upon discovering the mountain lion, as required by the agency's policy.
The mountain lion was a 120-pound adult female. Tracks of two nearly adult-sized mountain lions were found in the area after the female was euthanized.
The young mountain lions are likely the female's offspring and were determined to be large enough to survive on their own, said Sam Wilson, Game and Parks' carnivore program manager.
"This is an unfortunate situation," he said. "We had hoped to be able to tranquilize and release any mountain lion that was accidentally trapped if it could be done safely and was not injured. With this animal in the process of pulling the stakes, a decision needed to be made immediately."