According to Iowa’s Department of Natural Resources records, the last cougar to be killed in Iowa occurred in the South West portion of the state in 1867. In recent years, the first confirmed cougar was killed in December of 2009 in Marengo, Iowa by a deer hunter.

Since that time sightings and reports have consistently increased. Many believe that young male cougars from Colorado or the Black Hills of South Dakota are being pushed out of the territory where they were born may be the source of these cats.

In the summer of 2014, the Iowa DNR confirmed that a mountain lion killed a deer in the northeast corner of the state. Despite the recent increases in sightings, cougars still have no legal status or protections in Iowa – a reality that will make recolonization and tolerance for the animal nearly impossible.