Mountain Lion Sighting on South Side Reported to Police

A mountain lion coming toward the camera.

DES MOINES, Iowa – Police in Des Moines are looking into another reported sighting of a mountain lion.

According to Sgt. Paul Parizek with the Des Moines Police Department, the report came in from the city’s south side early Friday morning. Police received a call about a possible sighting in the area of 17 E. Wall Avenue.

Sgt. Parizek says police are investigating and have not yet determined whether the sighting can be confirmed.

Several reported sightings of a mountain lion in the metro have been reported to police since the first confirmed sighting overnight May 8th into May 9th. A mountain lion was caught on a surveillance video taken in the area of 31st Street and I-235.

The DNR says the mountain lion was spotted again May 9th around 4:45 a.m. Thursday on the north end of Water Works Park.

Surveillance video from Susan Hurst on May 10th shows the mountain lion in her neighborhood that is just east of the Des Moines International Airport.

Another report of a suspected mountain lion was made around May 25th in the backyard of a home at 7500 block of SW 17th Street. A DNR expert does not believe it is a mountain lion because the animal’s color is wrong and it appears to be missing some of the markings around its eyes and face that are characteristic of a mountain lion. The expert said it is hard to determine because the photo of the animal is blurry.

The DNR says any mountain lions spotted in densely populated areas are likely just moving through. The solitary animals are very good at staying hidden during the day and travel mostly at night.

The Iowa Department of Natural Resources offers these tips if you encounter a mountain lion:

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

  1. Stand tall, look big, puff up, and lift your coat over your shoulders.
  2. Take control of the situation. Scream loudly, throw objects.
  3. Gather children in close and slowly back away keeping your eye on the animal.
  4. If attacked, fight back vigorously with sharp objects and poke the eyes of the animal.
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