Hiawatha Police Warn Residents of Possible Mountain Lion
No, this is not a repeat of a story from two weeks ago. This is a fresh mountain lion sighting in the Hiawatha area. And this time, the Hiawatha Police Department is taking the threat seriously.
Several weeks ago, a mountain lion sighting was talked about on a Facebook page of a Hiawatha business. It claimed that a mountain lion had been spotted in the area and that police had confirmed the sighting. I actually called the Hiawatha Police Department and they told me that the sighting could NOT be confirmed. The story faded away and we were all left to wonder if a big cat was really making its way through parts of Hiawatha and Cedar Rapids.
Something must have changed because last night, CBS2 reports that the Hiawatha Police posted the following message via their Facebook page.
Now the post doesn't exactly confirm it was a mountain lion, but the fact that they don't rule it out means that they are taking the situation seriously. Could it be a large bobcat? Sure. It could also be a small dog that is the right size and color too. If residents have photos of the animal or better yet, its footprints, it would be much easier for law enforcement and the DNR to confirm whether or not it is a mountain lion.
Mountain lions have slowly been moving back into Midwest states like Iowa for years. An abundant population of deer as prey is one reason they find this part of the country so attractive. A study found that the big cats are likely to start recolonizing in states like Iowa within the next 20 years. It probably is happening now. That means the public needs to be educated on these beautiful, but potentially dangerous, large predators. The study says that humans need to accept that the animals are coming back if they want to get along.