In February of this year, WHO13 in Des Moines reported a mountain lion sighting in Dallas County, which the DNR confirmed.

It's believed that the creature was captured for the second time on a trail camera in central Iowa this week. Though it is speculation, there isn't a population of cougars resident to the state, so it may very well be the same big cat.

Per IowaDNR.gov, "Both South Dakota and Nebraska are home to small breeding populations of mountain lions. On occasion, young males (2 to– 3 years old) approaching adulthood get chased from their home territories by older, dominant males. These roaming animals sometimes make long treks in their search for a new territory. While Iowa might offer ample food, it lacks the vast expanse of wild country and female mates that these young males seek. So they often continue moving on, which means there are no breeding populations in Iowa. The Iowa DNR has not stocked mountain lions and has no plans to do so."

Though the DNR did add it could very well be the same animal, furbearer biologist Vince Evelsizer told WHO that 'one photo is not enough evidence to make a solid confirmation.'

Here's what he said about the mountain lion sighting:

We’ve had several reports this winter of a mountain lion in Webster County. As that area and this part of Dallas County are connected by the Des Moines River valley, this would suggest that one animal has been using the corridor for cover and food this winter.

Here's what is proposed to be the same mountain lion from February:

The central Iowa man who provided the photos said he's had no issues with the animal eating or disturbing livestock on his property. Other than the photos and tracks the creature has left, it has not shown any signs of being on his land.

According to the USDA, "The mountain lion diet consists primarily of deer (both whitetail deer and/or mule deer), but their natural diet will also include a wide variety of other animals, including elk and bighorn sheep, and smaller wildlife species such as rabbit, turkey, raccoon and porcupine."

In other words, the local cougar must have found some local species to prey on that aren't chickens, cows, or pigs, Hooray!

As to how the big cat ended up in the Hawkeye State, there is some speculation considering it's no longer native here.

This is what the Cougar Fund had to say about its presence in Iowa: "The last cougar to be killed in Iowa occurred in the South West portion of the state in 1867. In recent years, the first confirmed cougar was killed in December of 2009 in Marengo, Iowa by a deer hunter.

Since that time sightings and reports have consistently increased. Many believe that young male cougars from Colorado or the Black Hills of South Dakota are being pushed out of the territory where they were born may be the source of these cats.

In the summer of 2014, the Iowa DNR confirmed that a mountain lion killed a deer in the northeast corner of the state. Despite the recent increases in sightings, cougars still have no legal status or protections in Iowa – a reality that will make recolonization and tolerance for the animal nearly impossible."

As we shared in an article regarding an Iowa mountain lion sighting in December of 2021, this is what the DNR recommends if you run into one of these wild animals:

"1) DON’T RUN! Running will stimulate certain animals to chase you (like a dog that wants to bite you, especially if you run).

2) Stand tall, look big, puff up, and lift your coat over your shoulders.

3) Take control of the situation. Scream loudly, throw objects.

4) Gather children in close and slowly back away keeping your eye on the animal.

5) If attacked, fight back vigorously with sharp objects and poke the eyes of the animal."

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