mountain lion
Des Moines Register

Iowa DNR Shoots Female Mountain Lion in Ida County

Iowa DNR dispatches mountain lion in Ida County.

Mountain lions are very rare sight in Iowa. In fact, they've been confirmed in the Hawkeye state just 21 times since 1995.

So Tuesday's events in Ida County are pretty noteworthy. The Iowa Department of Natural Resources confirmed they had to destroy a female mountain lion in Ida County near the small town of Galva. The 88 pound animal was the first confirmed female lion in Iowa and the first lion shot in the state since 2013.

Evidence a big cat was on the prowl first showed up last week when a local farmer discovered a dead calf that appeared to have lion-consistent injuries. Then the animal was discovered on a neighboring property Monday evening by a landowner who called 911.

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The Des Moines Register reports DNR officers determined shooting the animal was safer than attempting to relocate it, citing the heavy human presence and proximity to live stock.

"White-tailed deer and other animals, particularly the weak or injured, are often the preferred prey. But in this situation, it appears this mountain lion has targeted young livestock and livestock producers are well within their rights to protect their livelihood," DNR deputy director Bruce Trautman said in a DNR press release.

Iowa DNR furbearer biologist Vince Evelsizer told the paper the big cats don't always respond well to tranquilizer and one could become aggressive and attack if the tranquilizer failed to kick in.

"For this one, it was deemed as a bit of a human safety threat and a livestock threat," Elvelsizer told the paper. "It's unfortunate that it was shot, but you had to make a decision."

The DNR stated in a press release previous mountain lions found in Iowa have been genetically linked back to populations in Nebraska or South Dakota. The DNR plans to examine this one's stomach contents and do a similar genetic analysis by collecting teeth and tissue samples.