A wildlife biologist with the Iowa Department of Natural Resources says a photo captured on a trail camera in Clinton County during the past week has been confirmed as a mountain lion. Vince Evelsizer says they are honoring the landowner’s request to not be identified.

He says the will only say the picture was taken somewhere near the Wapsipinicon River in the eastern part of Clinton County and D.N.R. law enforcement officers verified the location and camera where the photo was taken. Evelsizer says the officers also verified the trees and other things shown in the photo. Evelsizer says the mountain lion is likely just passing through Iowa on his search for a new home.

Evelsizer says it’s likely the animal was a young male from a western state as it’s common for some to come from the Black Hills of South Dakota, and it could’ve also come from one of the other western states. He says young males will often leave looking for their own territory.

There were reports of a mountain lion in Iowa City recently. Evelsizer says it is possible this animal came from there, but he says that sighting was never confirmed as a mountain lion. He says the first two sightings did not provide enough evidence that it was a mountain lion, and the third photo was either a dog or cat snapped with a cellphone camera.

Evelsizer says an examination showed the animal in that picture was too small to be a mountain lion. Evelsizer says mountain lion sightings generate lots of phone calls and rumors from the public. He says this confirmed sighting should not be a worry for anyone.

“Most of them are very secretive and shy and prefer to be left alone and don’t want to interact in and around humans,” Evelsizer says. He says the animals have plenty of food and don’t have much reason to bother humans. Evelsizer says the animals usually sense humans long before they are sighted and take off. He says very few of the sightings of the animals are ever confirmed.