Nebraska Mountain Lion Now at Home in Indiana After Walking to Illinois
We have posted stories about animals found in Indiana or Kentucky that most people didn't think should be there. Some native creatures are a surprise, but they're supposed to be where they are. But others are imported one way or another and are NOT supposed to be where they are.
MOUNTAIN LIONS IN THE TRI-STATE? NOT FOR A VERY LONG TIME
I know that on the websites of the Indiana Department of Natural Resources and the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources, there are sections devoted to mountain lions. Both essentially say the same thing...no lions here; time to move on.
The big cats haven't been Kentucky regulars since the 1930s. In Indiana, you'd have to go back to the late 1800s. But Indiana DNR does have on record a couple of reported sightings within the last 15 years:
The only confirmed mountain lion reports were in fall 2009 in southern Clay County and spring 2010 in northern Greene County. It is not known if these reports were the same animal, but their proximity makes it possible they were. The DNR receives many mountain lion reports through this system. However, most sightings prove to be a species other than a mountain lion, are inconclusive, or are part of an internet hoax.
BUT A FEW MOUNTAIN LIONS HAVE MADE APPEARANCES
Additionally, there have been other "possible" sightings of mountain lions in Indiana over the last few years...like this one from the northern part of the state:
And in 2019, FOX59-Indianapolis published a story about a possible sighting in Brown County:
Having not seen those two reports on Indiana DNR's website or Facebook page, I'm assuming they remain unconfirmed.
MOUNTAIN LION WALKS TO ILLINOIS AND NOW RESIDES IN INDIANA
But this time, we have confirmation, and it isn't a situation where a lion was transported somewhere it shouldn't have been or a case where one got away from a regulated enclosure. Also, the lion was seen in Illinois and got there on its own four feet.
I tip my hat to this beautiful creature; that's quite a journey--a journey that ended at the Exotic Feline Rescue Center in Center Point, Indiana. He was driven there after being captured in Springfield.
THIS MIDWEST MOUNTAIN LION'S TREK SHOULDN'T SURPRISE
The lion's journey is impressive but shouldn't come as a surprise, according to the Illinois Department of Natural Resources:
These animals can cover great distances. The mountain lion traveled all the way through Nebraska and Iowa without incident. It’s hard telling how far he will continue to travel if we here in Illinois leave him alone.
Of course, he wasn't left alone; Springfield police reported that the lion had wandered into a residential area and thus had to be tranquilized and transported to the Indiana sanctuary.
I've seen comments suggesting this was an unhappy ending, but the creature is now safe and will be well taken care of.
Lions just roam, and they're good at it. I'm kind of surprised this has happened more often.