The Iowa Department of Natural Resources has confirmed a picture taken by a trail camera in Madison County is that of a mountain lion.
The photo was taken on October 13th, just before 7:00 p.m. on a farm in rural Madison County. The photo was sent to Channel 13 by Jerry England and William Powell. They say it was taken on their farm about 10 miles north of Winterset.
The Iowa DNR says the mountain lion is a two to three year old male and likely traveled to Iowa from South Dakota.
The DNR also says it expects to have fewer mountain lions in Iowa in the future, because hunting limits for the big cat in South Dakota are being raised.
According to the DNR, more than 1,000 mountain lion sightings have been reported since 2000 but most could not be verified. More than 95% of sightings reported are of mistaken identity – such as bobcats or some dogs that share the same coloring.
The DNR says three mountain lions have been confirmed killed in Iowa since August 2001. One of those was found in a Des Moines neighborhood in 2012.
The DNR offers these safety tips if you come across a mountain lion:
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 of the animal.
5) If attacked, fight back vigorously with sharp objects and poke the eyes of the animal.