He's put photos up on the Web and is awaiting a visit from the state's primary investigator when it comes to mountain lion reports -- Matt Peek.
Klataske, executive director of Audubon of Kansas, this week made the announcement via an e-mail to journalists across the state and on the Audubon's Web site.
The announcement was accompanied by photographs of an animal and pictures of plaster casts that Klataske says confirms the presence of mountain lions.
Matt Peek, a furbearer-big game biologist with the Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks, hopes to get a closer look at what Klataske has to offer.
Peek said KDWP doesn't discount the idea that mountain lions might be in Kansas.
"We have not found conclusive evidence that wild mountain lions are in the state," he said.
In surrounding states, for example, mountain lions have been found, generally when they are killed crossing roads.
Peek is hoping that a higher quality photograph can be obtained, noting that the photograph on the Audubon's Web site is "inconclusive."
Mountain lions have been the subject of considerable debate in Kansas.
Rumors and reports concerning sightings abound, but no tangible evidence has been found.
The last confirmed wild Kansas mountain lion was killed in 1904 in Ellis County.
Even the scat that originally confirmed the presence of a mountain lion near the University of Kansas campus in Lawrence is now suspect because of problems with the laboratory where the sample was tested.
But now there is also a recent incident of a 17-year-old Alma cross-country runner who "got knocked down from behind," Peek said. "He thinks the animal that did it was a mountain lion."
Peek said he and others were in the area where the student was running but was unable to find anything, primarily because it had rained overnight and the road had been graded.
While the claw marks were minor, he said, investigators were able to determine that they were wider than perhaps a bobcat might be. But they also couldn't exclude that possibility.
"We don't have any real reason not to believe the kid," Peek said. "We would probably call it inconclusive. There is no obvious reason not to believe what the kid said. And he believes it was a mountain lion."
Peek said he hopes to review the evidence Klataske has and said he is "not discounting anything at this point."
Klataske said he decided to make the announcement via e-mail and online because KDWP has had a history of skepticism concerning mountain lions in Kansas.
"I just thought it was better to share it with them at the same time I share it with everyone," he said.
Although Klataske would not say where the animals were sighted, he did say that they were primarily in the eastern part of the state.
Klataske said he had confirmed two separate cougars since April 2006, and another that was killed in north-central Kansas in 2002.
In June 2006, the Audubon director said he spotted a mountain lion about 3 miles from where the lion had been photographed a couple months earlier. Klataske said he found a dozen or more tracks near a stream and made plaster casts of several.
The Alma attack is what prompted him to step forward with information.
It's important, he said, for people to be aware that mountain lions might be in the area and to take precautions.
He's also concerned that people might take up arms and pursue the animal, killing it if it is found.
That's why he won't give the exact location where the lions have been spotted, although he said he'd show Peek where the casts were taken.
"We just think it's important for people to understand they're here so we can talk about how to develop a conservation program," Klataske said.
Mountain Lions Kansas
Mountain Lions Kansas