Mountain lion sightings are pretty rare in the Hawkeye State -- to the point that the species isn't considered native to Iowa.

According to,

Mountain lions have no legal wildlife status in Iowa. That means that they can be taken and possessed by anyone at anytime as long as legal methods and means are used to take the animal. Mountain lions and black bears are not listed in the Iowa Code as designated wildlife species, because they were extirpated before fish and game legislation became prominent.

They're more common elsewhere, as the site elaborates:

In the western states, where mountain lions have been present since settlement, between 85% and 95% are considered mistaken identity. In Iowa, it is likely that over 95% of the reports are mistaken identity.

If you looked at the news over the last few days, you'd assume there's a significant population here.

According to an attached Facebook post by the Madison County Sheriff's office, several sightings took place over the weekend in central Iowa. The post says that there were "multiple and confirmed sightings of mountain lion(s) in the New Virginia and St. Charles/St. Mary's area." It's between a 30 and 40-minute drive south of the Des Moines area.

It was added that they were unsure if it was the same cougar that was spotted several times or separate animals. Additionally, the post said they believed there was no level of danger to the public as the sightings were in remote areas.

You can see some of the sightings in the attached video:

Though mountain lion interactions are rare, the DNR suggests the following if you run into one:

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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