A mountain lion was shot and killed in northwest Iowa this morning.
Vince Evelsizer, with the Department of Natural Resources, says a DNR law enforcement officer took the action after the large cat was spotted on a property near Galva in Ida County.
“This cat was put up into a tree by a farmer’s dog relatively close to their farmhouse, within 50 yards from the front yard,” Evelsizer said. The mountain lion weighed 88 pounds and was likely 2 to 3 years old, according to Evelsizer. The animal is suspected of killing three calves late last week.
A livestock producer reported the losses about 30 miles south of where the mountain lion was shot this morning. “One of those calves was 300 to 350 pounds,” Evelsizer said. This marks just the fourth time a mountain lion has been killed in Iowa.
“We always hate to have a cat killed, but in this case it was considered to be the best step at that time,” Evelsizer said. “When he was on sight there, he had to make a decision and in this case, being that close to the farmhouse and with some livestock reported killed in the area – that’s why it was shot.” The previous most recent shooting of a mountain lion in Iowa involved a four year old male cat in Sioux County in 2013. The mountain lion shot in Ida County was female.
“It’s the first time we’ve had a confirmed female mountain lion in Iowa in recent times – recent times being the last 20 to 30 years,” Evelsizer said. Mountain lions that wander into Iowa generally come from South Dakota and Nebraska, which have natural mountain lion populations.
“Since 1995, we’ve had 21 mountain lions confirmed in Iowa,” Evelsizer said. “It’s likely there’s been more than that. We get a lot of other reports, it’s just that we couldn’t confirm or prove.” Another usual factor in this case is the mountain lion is suspected of killing livestock.
“We have some livestock depredation each year from coyotes usually – but also from dogs,” Evelsizer said. “It’s more unusual for it to be mountain lions, but it can happen, it’s not something to rule out anymore.” There is no evidence the Ida County mountain lion produced any young. Evelsizer said the DNR will collect teeth, and examine the stomach contents and tissue samples of the animal.
Photo courtesy of DNR Conservation Officer Kirby Bragg