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UPDATE: Six Mountain Lion Reports In 3 Weeks and Twitter Loves Mountain Lion Tweeter

Schools will not go on lockdown, but officials will remain watchful. Officials offer safety tips.

UPDATE: Local media are reporting that Wednesday's call to police about a mountain lion sighting on the east side of Iowa City was the sixth report in three weeks.

and its partner have a story on Thursday by reporter Erica Pennington that quoted Johnson County Animal Services supervisor Misha Goodman as saying, “Very few cougars have been hunted or killed in Iowa within the past 25 years, but we take all sightings very seriously.” 

In other developments on Thursday, the mountain lion news has caused a stir in the social media universe. A Tweeter calling himself or herself @icmountainlion has been been lighting up the Twitter feed with commentary. 

ICMountainLion IowaCityMountainLion   ROWR. The Iowa City Mountain Lion cannot be stopped. I can only be contained.

ICMountainLion IowaCityMountainLion   @uiowa Dear UI PR apparatus: You can call me an old mountain lion in a shoe any day.

The second post was in reference to an off-handed joke Tweeted from a University of Iowa account on Thursday (which they took down and apologized for) connecting the GOP hopeful because of the sighting in Iowa City. Bachmann's campaign said they were glad they didn't call her “The Old Lady in the Shoe."

Don't snicker. The @icmountainlion has gained 160 followers in seven hours since the account was launched.

(Previous Coverage)

Iowa City school officials say they will not change any procedures the morning after a  about a half-mile away from four schools.

Several schools are located within close proximity to that area, including , , and . 

Police could not find the wild cat, which was reported as a cougar (another name for a mountain lion) and therefore cannot confirm the validity of the report on Wednesday afternoon. But this comes about two weeks after two people reported a mountain lion near , which prompted a . 

"Our plan today is to remain vigilant," said Ann Feldmann, Iowa City School District assistant superintendent.

Feldmann said the difference in response is because the circumstances vary between the Wednesday reported sighting and the Horn case. The Horn sighting was reported to be on school grounds earlier in the day, so a soft lock-down was ordered, while Wednesday's sighting occurred in a wooded area a little ways from the schools, she said.

Feldmann said she conferred with principals in the morning, and they decided not to make changes or take any precautions other than to remain vigilant. 

Whether there is a mountain lion roaming is uncertain.

Some people are suspicious that it's an exaggerated claim. An Iowa City video appeared on YouTube in February claiming to be of a mountain lion, but police say the claim was discounted by the Iowa Department of Natural Resources.

Still, if you encounter a mountain lion, you can take steps to stay safe.

You should not run, according to a Wednesday news release from Misha Goodman of Iowa City animal services. Provide the animal space so it can avoid you, and don't crouch because it could mistake you for an animal, Goodman said. Make eye contact, stand your ground, make yourself appear larger by extending your jacket and waving your arms and speak in a loud, firm voice, she advises.

Bob McCoy September 16, 2011 at 03:44 AM
Good advice for safety, and a reasonable decision to keep the school open. Mountain Lion Foundation has a lot of information on America's Lion. These three (URLs) pertain to being around cougars (mountain lions, panthers, pumas--they have a few hundred names): http://www.mountainlion.org/4simplesteps.asp http://mountainlion.org/publications/Safety_Tips_Sheet.pdf http://www.mountainlion.org/tracks.asp Biologists and enforcement officers in the states that have breeding populations of cougars generally find that only about 20% to 30% of sightings involve a mountain lion. The "tracks.asp" article will help you to evaluate your physical evidence. I posted a photo by Kamriell Welty of Bellingham, WA. The juvenile female had taken down a deer in a wooded area between two houses in Kamriell's neighborhood. Several people came face-to-face with the cat, but it showed no interest in attacking them--attacks are extremely rare, usually fewer than one a year in the US and Canada. Fatal attacks are even rarer: 20 in 120 years. These cats are apex consumers and act as keystone species. They contribute to habitat and wildlife diversity. Please give a cat room to go on its way, and do not demand that enforcement kill a cat. The people of Bellingham and the WDFW did an outstanding job relocating the female juvenile.

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