Friday, September 2, 2011

Mountain Lions Invade Iowa City

There have been multiple sightings of mountain lions here in Iowa City.  It's not like there are any mountains around here, but they apparently like elementary school playgrounds.  Check this out:
Two mountain lion sightings were reported near Horn Elementary School off Benton Street this morning. Ryan Jacbosen, 35 of Iowa City, saw the animal run out in front of his car on Benton Street shortly after 7:30 a.m. and reported it to police... Jacobsen said he was taking his three-year-old son to daycare driving east on Benton Street when he saw an animal run across the street from the left.

“I could hardly believe my eyes,” Jacobsen said. “I would say it was big. If it didn’t have a long tail on the end of it, I would almost think it was a deer, but it had a big long tail on the back. It was impressive.” He said the animal ran out from the playground area near Horn Elementary School, at 600 Koser Ave., across Benton street and back behind a row of houses. Jacobsen said he pulled up to another car, and the two people inside said they had seen the mountain lion, too. “There was no doubting it,” he said. ”We were both kind of in awe...”

Misha Goodman, director of the Iowa City Animal Care and Adoption Center, said there are usually mountain lion sightings in the Iowa City area a couple times each year. Goodman said officials from the center have done some tracking and found signs indicative of a mountain lion, but the Department of Natural Resources has not confirmed that there is one in the area...

Goodman advised that people walk in pairs in the areas where the sightings occurred and to not let children walk alone in wooded areas, particularly at sunset. If a mountain lion is spotted, Goodman said to stay at a distance and to never feed it. She also suggested staying away from wooded areas and the reported area with small dogs.
Needless to say, Ms. Lion isn't spending too much time on her own outdoors these days.  Not that she usually does, but that's beside the point.  Horn Elementary isn't on the edge of town.  It's right there in the middle of things.  Relatively near the University of Iowa Hospitals & Clinics, Riverside Drive, Highway 1, and (most importantly) my work address.  It's kind of scary to consider mountain lions roaming the streets of Iowa City, but I guess it keeps things interesting.

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