Illinois Officials Urge Residents To Be Wary Of Wandering Mountain Lion

by Megan Molseed
(Getty Images/Finn Steiner)

Officials in one of Illinois’ largest cities are warning residents to be wary of a wandering mountain lion. According to reports, the cougar has been spotted roaming around Springfield Illinois in recent days. The wild animal is believed to be a part of the thriving Nebraska mountain lion population. The reason for the cougar’s movement over the state borders is still unknown to experts. However, there are some theories including a search for food that have been presented.

The mountain lion was detected by a satellite focused on an area near the west end of Springfield Illinois on Wednesday, October 26. The animal remained in the area through the day…mostly taking a snooze in a more secluded area. The satellites were able to detect the animal using a GPS collar that had been attached to the roaming big cat by the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission last year. This was done as part of a research project.

Illinois Conservation Officials And Local Authorities Are Keeping Tabs On The Roaming Mountain Lion

According to reports, area conservation officials and the local Illinois authorities are monitoring the mountain lion’s movements as they keep tabs on the animal. Officials are also notifying residents of the presence of the unusual visitor. The Illinois state Department of Natural Resource is working closely with biologists from Nebraska to keep track of the cougar’s movements.

Mountain Lions Are A Protected Species In The State Of Illinois

Officials note that Illinois residents are urged to leave the roaming cougar alone. They are a protected species within the state. This means that it is illegal to kill these big cats. Unless the mountain lion is posing an imminent threat to a person or property, DNR officials note.

If a resident does encounter a mountain lion, the experts advise that they stand tall and wave their arms. This is all to make themselves look bigger, louder, and ultimately scarier to the animal. Experts also note that it is very important to not take your eye off the mountain lion…even during a fearful retreat from the area. It is recommended that a person who has encountered a mountain lion in the wild slowly back away. Keeping an eye on the predator all while making themselves look big and loud.

This is the second mountain lion sighting in the state of Illinois in one week. Unusual since the animals are not regularly seen in Illinois. However, these sightings – while unusual – are not completely uncommon as bordering states do serve as homes to the massive wild cats. The cougar spotted earlier this week was tragically killed by a vehicle near DeKalb late last week.