The Iowa Department of Natural Resources (DNR) was forced killed a female mountain lion on a farm in Ida County on June 27 following reports of livestock depredation. The 88-pound cougar is the first confirmed female in Iowa in more than a century.
According to The Des Moines Register, mountain lions are fairly uncommon in the Hawkeye State. They generally come from western South Dakota and Nebraska, which have natural mountain lion populations. Since 1995, there have only been 21 lions in Iowa confirmed by the DNR.
The situation arose two weeks ago after a farmer discovered a dead calf that appeared to have wounds consistent with an attack by a large cat. A few days later, multiple calls were placed to 911 by a nearby landowner who spotted the cougar. The DNR officers made the decision to use lethal action due to the predator’s close proximity to humans and livestock.
“White-tailed deer and other wild 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,” said Iowa DNR deputy director Bruce Trautman in a news release.
Iowa DNR biologist Vince Evelsizer told the Sioux City Journal that the presence of a female mountain lion could be a sign that others may be in the state and potentially reproducing.
The Iowa DNR will collect teeth, tissue samples for genetic analysis and examine the cougar’s stomach contents. According to the state's DNR news release, there is no physical evidence that the female lion has produced any young.