Hundred's of years ago, mountain lions, black bears, and wolves were all native animals in Iowa. They were the dominant predators of the era. But with human expansion, they were eventually driven out of the Midwest. But Iowans might want to get used to seeing them.

A biologist with the Iowa Department of Natural Resources says that many of these animals are regularly being seen in the state. Black bear sightings are reported all the time, and that is something that Iowans aren't used to. The bears aren't alone. Wolves, bobcats, and mountain lions are also back. While Iowans need to be mindful that these animals are in our state, DNR officials are doubtful that these species are breeding in Iowa.

Established breeding pairs of black bears have been recorded in Wisconsin and Minnesota. While the trend has moved southward, no breeding pairs have yet been reported in the state of Iowa. If a bear, mountain lion, or wolf is spotted in the state, more than likely it is a result of the animal being driven out of its usual territory during mating season. These animals will often journey to neighboring states, but don't end up staying very long. But as populations grown, more and more are being spotted in Iowa.

So what species has the best shot at establishing itself in Iowa? DNR officials say the wooded areas along the Mississippi River could be a good spot for black bears. Mountain lions and wolves face a tougher road. Both are much more secretive than bears and the bottom line is there are just too many people in Iowa. While all might face an uphill road in the state, Iowans need to be aware that these animals are back.


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