Public Safety

Hiawatha police receive reports of possible mountain lion sightings

Hiawatha Police Department SUV. (Hiawatha PD Facebook page photo)
Hiawatha Police Department SUV. (Hiawatha PD Facebook page photo)

Hiawatha police are asking residents to be aware of their surroundings as officers have fielded calls Thursday reporting the possible sighting of a large bobcat or mountain lion near Edgewood Road and Canterbury Lane NE.

Police Chief Dennis Marks, said two people reported Thursday seeing a light brown or blonde animal resembling a mountain lion with a 2- to 3-foot tail.

Marks said the callers were in the same household.

Officers checked the area, Marks said, but were unable to confirm the presence of a large cat.

The Iowa Department of Natural Resources said most reported sighting of mountain lions are believed to be cases of mistaken identity.

In the western states, where mountain lions have been present since settlement, between 85 and 95 percent of alleged sightings are considered to be mistaken identity, the DNR said in a brochure about mountain lions. In Iowa, it is likely that more than 95 percent of the reports are mistaken identity.

The DNR said yellow labs or shepherd dogs, bobcats, feral house cats and deer are often mistaken for mountain lions, perhaps because many sightings occur at night, in poor lighting conditions, poor weather conditions or at very far distances.

Comments: (319) 398-8238; kat.russell@thegazette.com

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