The mountain lion that was captured Friday gave homeowners on Springfield’s west side quite the scare.
“We do go on walks though in the morning, so I’m kind of glad this morning we did not go on our walk,” Steve Margold, a resident in the area, said. “I slept in, so maybe that was a good thing.”
“We have a small dog and we let him … peruse in the morning to go out to the bathroom,” Maggie Smith, another resident said. “Had I known that I probably wouldn’t have let him go out on his own this morning.”
The lion was found in a yard on Checkerberry Lane. The homeowner who spotted the animal in his yard said he opened his curtains this morning to find a police car and a truck with an antenna.
“I go back on my deck in the backyard and I see more cops over there too” Mo, the homeowner who had the lion in his backyard said. “I was like ‘What’s going on?’ … And I said, “Do you see anything there?’ I thought they [were] looking for a person or something.”
That’s when he says he spotted the lion in the bushes.
“I looked under the big bush and was like, holy [expletive]. It’s a lion,” Mo said. “So I ran inside.”
The lion was tranquilized. IDNR officials said they only needed to use one shot with the tranquilizer.
While the lion was only in Springfield for a short time, he made quite the buzz during his visit.
“He’s been all the Facebook rage,” Smith said. “He’s like a little celebrity. I was actually talking about him at the gym this morning.”
This is the second mountain lion in the state in two weeks. Only eight have been seen in Illinois in 20 years.
IDNR announced they have captured the mountain lion and are transferring it to a special feline sanctuary.
Wildlife experts and law enforcement officials determined the cougar was too close to Springfield residents and property and needed to be relocated safely. The mountain lion was tranquilized by USDA Wildlife Services around noon.
“Thank you to our hardworking wildlife staff and conservation police and our partners across federal, state, and local agencies for handling this difficult situation with the professionalism and care that this beautiful wild animal and concerned residents deserve,” Colleen Callahan, IDNR Director, said. “I am confident that the mountain lion will be protected and cared for at its new home.”
The mountain lion’s new home will be the Exotic Feline Rescue Center in Center Point, Indiana.
Our crew talked with residents in the area to learn more about the capture, and how they handled the situation.
A spokesperson for Springfield School District 186 said Lindsay Elementary held indoor recess on Friday out of an abundance of caution.
Update 1:09 pm
Our onsite crew has received confirmation from a homeowner that the mountain lion has been tranquilized and moved from their yard.
We are awaiting further details from IDNR.
This is the second lion spotted in Illinois in just over ten days.
SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (WCIA) –State officials are working to tranquilize a mountain lion in Springfield on Friday.
The mountain lion was originally spotted in the area on Wednesday. Now Illinois Department of Natural Resource workers are working to apprehend it.
Springfield Police have closed off an area on the west side of town and asked residents to remain indoors.
This is a developing story.