Big Cat Apparently Chased Dinner Into Gutter

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Naturalists Find Evidence Of Mountain Lion

Big Cat Apparently Chased Dinner Into Gutter

July 1, 2002

Channel 4000

HARLAN, Iowa -- Wildlife managers in west Iowa believe they have more evidence that mountain lions are starting to repopulate the area.

Investigators found a rain gutter that was apparently shredded by a large animal. All of the evidence points to a mountain lion.

Investigators with the Iowa Department of Natural Resources said the big cats were common in the state in the 1800s. However, their population has dwindled. The first confirmed cat in more than 100 years was killed last year in Harlan.

The damaged gutter is apparently the work of another mountain lion. Investigators used the skull of the mountain lion killed last year to compare the bite marks.

"If you take a tooth and put it in the hole, they match up just about perfectly," said Bryce Schaben of the Shelby County Conservation Department.

If that's not enough, there are even bits of hair left behind. "And just the strength it to do indicates it was a mountain lion," Schaben said.

The DNR believes a small rabbit or squirrel tried to use the gutter for shelter, but the mountain lion was not discouraged. A similar attack happened recently in Harlan where a drain pipe was ripped out of someone's back yard.

Investigators said anyone who sees a mountain lion should be cautious, but not afraid. The cats are unlikely to attack humans unless they are provoked.
 

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