About 140 southwest Iowans attended at a meeting in Clarinda Wednesday night to hear officials from the Iowa Department of Natural Resources dispel rumors about an invasion of mountain lions. A big cat was hit by a car near Harlan back in 2001 and since then, two more have been shot in Iowa. Ron Andrews, a D-N-R furbearer resource specialist, says one shooting took place last fall near the northwest Iowa town of Ireton after a farmer spotted a mountain lion while picking corn.The second shooting took place near Chariton that same fall. Over the past two and a-half years, the D-N-R has received nearly 500 reports of the creatures lurking in rural areas, but Andrews says many of those reports involved repeated sightings of the same mountain lion. In addition to mountain lions, Andrews says bears have been sighted in the Hawkeye State. He says the bears are more daylight type of animals and the eastern two-thirds of the state have had sacattered bear reports.There’ve even been reports of wild boars in southwest Iowa. The D-N-R says some wild pigs escaped north of Thurman and about a dozen may still be in the hills. The animals caused extensive damage to the corn and soybean stubble, which reduced erosion protection. At the end of Wednesday night’s meeting, Pottawattamie County Conservation officer Doug Clayton put the bulk of the mountain lion sightings into perspective. He says the D-N-R has not received any verified reports of the big cats from the 150-thousand pheasant and deer hunters so far this year.
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