Mountain lion shot in a Des Moines neighborhood - WXOW News 19 La Crosse, WI – News, Weather and Sports |

Mountain lion shot in a Des Moines neighborhood

A mountain lion was shot and killed Thursday morning in a Des Moines neighborhood.

Jim Egan was working at his friends green house when he first spotted the animal.

"For whatever reason I looked down at some plants on the bench and there were two eyes staring up at me," Egan said.

That's when he slowly backed away and called 911.

"He just laid under the bench because I could see him tracking my movement with his head movement and then cops were everywhere," Egan said.

Police say the mountain lion started to run leaving officers no choice but to shoot the animal.

It was only blocks away from a middle school, and police say it was too risky to let the animal escape.

DNR officials say this is the eighth official sighting of a mountain lion in Iowa in the last decade.

"It's very, very unusual to find one in a residential neighborhood," says DNR Conservation Officer Jeff Swearngin.

He says it's mostly young males that stray into public areas.

"The wild ones that we have found move here from out west, they've gotten kicked out of the family unit, they're young males looking to find a territory so they just travel and travel until they find a territory," says Swearnigin.

The mountain lion's body will be used for research. Biologists plan on studying its stomach contents to determine where the animal has been.

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