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All Des Moines resident Jim Egan wanted to do Thursday morning was carry some blankets to a backyard greenhouse so he could use them to cover plants later in the day. Instead, as the year-old turned the corner of the greenhouse at around a. The mountain lion, a young male that measured 6 feet, 3 inches from nose to tail, didn't move as Egan slowly backed away while calling on his cellphone.
The big cat tracked his movements, Egan said. IN Des Moines police investigation confirmed mountain lion sighting. The north Des Moines neighborhood is within a few blocks of two schools. Police and DNR officials said they didn't want to shoot the animal as they evaluated the situation. But when it tried to bolt, Des Moines Police Sgt.
Jeff Phillips fired his shotgun, killing the big cat. We've been the news Iowa depends upon since Subscribe to help us continue our mission. It was a large cat," Phillips said. The cat had been spotted two hours earlier at Madison Elementary School, E. Hoffman St. Officials are accustomed to getting phone calls from people claiming to see a mountain lion. It's rare, though, that officials confirm the sightings. Often people confuse bobcats, or even household pets, for a mountain lion.
Authorities have been able to debunk some sightings, and with others, they simply haven't found anything. In July, a mountain lion was spotted in the Norwoodville area, about a mile north of where police on Thursday shot the cat. Officials said they have no way to know whether the animal that was killed was the same one people saw this summer. In September , a trail camera in Clinton County captured a picture of a mountain lion, and a month later, there was an unconfirmed sighting in Clinton.
That same month, there were three unconfirmed sightings of a mountain lion in Iowa City. In the spring and early summer of , residents around Des Moines' Waveland Golf Course reported several mountain lion sightings, none of which were confirmed. With all of the unconfirmed sightings, police and DNR officials were surprised at what they found in the Des Moines resident's backyard.
Yeah, there was a mountain lion. It was quite a surprise," Phillips said. Neighbors were also intrigued and several, some still in slippers or socks, congregated around the DNR pickup truck with the dead animal in the back. Some snapped photos on cellphones. The mountain lion was likely a young male that had just been kicked out of his territory and, while searching for new land, happened into the populated area, DNR conservation officer Jeff Swearngin said.
The animal's claws and teeth, as well as a lack of any tattoos or marks, indicated it was likely never a pet, Swearngin said. Chuck Corell, head of the conservation and recreation division at the DNR, said that at this time of year, mother mountain lions preparing to mate again kick their offspring out of the territory.
Many of the mountain lions in Iowa appear to come from the Black Hills. Most aren't seen, Corell said. Corell said there have been several sightings near or in cities in recent years. The DNR doesn't have a policy on shooting the large cats, which aren't legally protected. He said police did the right thing if the animal was roaming near schools and houses. And we can't take it to the Black Hills, because they've already been kicked out of the territory.
And while every officer at the scene called the incident "unfortunate," they expressed similar sentiments, wondering what would have happened if the animal managed to return to the neighborhood. Chris Scott said.
It's a public safety issue. Swearngin said there was likely no remaining public safety risk. Male mountain lions are solitary and travel up to a miles a day, so it's unlikely to find another one in the same area, he said. The mountain lion was taken to a Department of Natural Resources facility and will be kept frozen until officials can examine it further. They aren't sure what they will do with it after that, but there was talk of a museum.
Facebook Twitter . From the archives: Des Moines police kill mountain lion. Regina Zilbermints Des Moines Register. Show Caption. Hide Caption. The Des Moines Police Department is investigating a report of a mountain lion sighting within the city. Trail runner kills mountain lion. Trail runner Travis Kauffman got attacked by a mountain lion and he defended himself and won the battle for his life.
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