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Photo of ~insert photo description~.


Iowa still allows trapping on much of its public lands.

Mountain lions have no legal wildlife status in Iowa. Two legislative efforts have been made to place the mountain lion in the Iowa code as a designated wildlife species. However, strong agricultural interests prevailed, and both efforts failed. Since mountain lions have no legal protection in Iowa, they may be hunted with almost no restrictions other than a prohibition of hunting with the aid of artificial light and hunting on wildlife refuges. Iowa defines endangered species as “any species of fish, plant life, or wildlife which is in danger of extinction throughout all or a significant part of its range.” This definition is clearly inclusive of mountain lions. However, Iowa does not include them on their list.

  • Return to the portal page for Iowa.

  • The status of Puma concolor in Iowa.

  • State law and regulations affecting cougars.

  • The history of cougars in Iowa.

  • Ecosystems and habitat in Iowa.

  • Cougar science and research in Iowa.

  • Our library of media, research and reports.

  • How you can take action to help!

Here's what you can do:

Immediate Steps:

  1. Build a coalition to learn from and educate people on how to peacefully coexist with the mountain lion population.
  2. Contribute a positive voice. Write a letter to your local newspaper expressing your excitement about local mountain lions and your views on the importance of protecting them.
  3. Distribute educational information on how residents can protect their pets and livestock. Consider animal shelters, veterinary clinics, 4H clubs, Scouting organizations, FFA, shooting clubs, and any other pertinent public locations as potential outlets.
  4. Email and suggest local officials friendly to mountain lion conservation in Iowa.

Interim Steps:

  1. Become familiar with the stance taken by the Iowa Department of Natural Resources toward mountain lions. Reach out to MLF and wildlife experts. Then attend public meetings with the Natural Resource Commission and the Environmental Protection Commission and ask them to:
    1. Develop a Mountain Lion Management Plan that will protect mountain lions and their habitat
    2. Encourage non-consumptive practices for landowners concerned with depredation issues.
    3. Ask that mountain lions be given legal protection under Iowa Administrative Code.
  2. Do you know of a state official that may understand the importance of protecting mountain lions? Write to them:
    1. Urge them to reconsider legislation like House File 117.

Long term Steps:

  1. Request to meet with your state legislators about giving mountain lions legal protection in Iowa.
    1. Appeal for legislation that will protect recolonizing lions in Iowa.
    2. Request that mountain lions be protected under Iowa endangered species law.

ON AIR: Phil Carter - One Step Forward, Two Steps Back

03/19/13 An Audio Interview with Julie West, MLF Broadcaster

In this edition of our audio podcast ON AIR, MLF Volunteer Julie West interviews mountain lion program manager Phil Carter of Animal Protection of Iowa. Carter discusses the often ridiculous lengths the Iowa Department of Game and Fish will go to to disregard the public, bury scientific research, and ignore all common sense. Trying to protect mountain lions in Iowa and incorporate the best science into management has turned into a game of one step forward, two steps back.

Click here to view our Activist Guide...

Becoming a Mountain Lion Activist

There are lots of opportunities to take action!

Are you new to mountain lion activism? You want to change your local environment to improve it for cougars... but you don't know how to start. You may feel like you are all alone... but it takes just one person to change the attitudes and lifestyles of hundreds of others. You don't need to belong to a group. It doesn't take special skills or superhuman abilities. You just need to care enough about cougars to want to help them survive. You've already done the hard part, now let us help you with the next step.

Click here to open a new window and visit the agency's website...

Iowa Department of Natural Resources

Commonly abbreviated as: IADNR

?, Director

Main Office:


Wildlife Biologist

Please write to the director and express your concern for lions in Iowa.

Thank the agency when they take steps to protect our state's cougars. When they fall short of expectations, politely ask for policy reform and more officer training.