Possible sightings of a big cat are raising questions and stirring up rumors in Jasper County. Residents in the northwestern and western areas of the county report seeing what they believe is a cougar. Iowa Department of Natural Resources spokesman Ross Harrison says those reports haven’t been confirmed, nor have rumors that the cougars attacked livestock. He says they attempt to confirm sightings or livestock attacks and so far haven’t been able to confirm any attacks on livestock by cougars. Another rumor that’s cropped up is that the D-N-R has deliberately brought in the cougars to control the deer population. Harrison says there’s no truth to that at all.He says the D-N-R has never even considered stocking cougars in Iowa to kill deer or for any other purpose.Harrison says there are a couple of likely sources of the cougars.The cougars could’ve escaped from captivity, or they could’ve migrated in from states west of Iowa, where their population has been increasing. There have been confirmed sightings of cougars to the west of Jasper County. The Carroll County Conservation Board Director reported in December that he spotted a cougar in a county park.
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