SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) — A mountain lion that roamed residential neighborhoods in Springfield was sedated Friday and taken to an Indiana sanctuary that houses big cats, the Illinois Department of Natural Resources said.
The young male was tranquilized by staff with the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Wildlife Services branch and sent to the Exotic Feline Rescue Center in Center Point, Indiana, the state agency said.
IDNR wildlife experts, Illinois Conservation Police, the USDA and the Springfield Police Department determined the animal had entered areas of the city where he would be a threat to people or property.
The animal, which was fitted last year with a GPS collar by the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission, had wandered to Illinois from Nebraska. It arrived in Springfield on Wednesday, and IDNR warned residents not to disturb it while the agency tracked its movements.
The DNR asked people to leave the mountain lion alone because the animals are a protected species in Illinois and it’s illegal to kill them unless they pose an imminent threat to person or property.
Its appearance in Springfield marks the second time in recent weeks a mountain lion has been detected in Illinois. The DNR said last week that a mountain lion was struck and killed on Oct. 16 by a vehicle along Interstate 88 in DeKalb County.