Mountain Lion Struck on I-88 in DeKalb County

By Benjamin Cox on October 19, 2022 at 11:15am

Photo: Jeanne Drake, courtesy Cougar Network on Wildlife

Illinois Department of Natural Resources officials announced Monday that a mountain lion or cougar was struck and killed by a vehicle on Interstate 88 in DeKalb County on Sunday.

The animal was transferred to an IDNR lab at the University of Illinois Champaign-Urbana for a full necropsy and DNA analysis. The UIUC analysis will provide valuable information to biologists about the animal, its place of origin, and exploratory movements across the Midwest.

IDNR experts believe it may be the same mountain lion that was captured on a trail camera on private property in Whiteside County in late September and confirmed by wildlife biologists from IDNR and the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Mountain lion movements are nothing new to West Central Illinois over the last decade. In October 2012, a cougar was captured on a trail camera set up southeast of Literberry. Subsequent sightings popped up in Calhoun, Greene, and Pike Counties. IDNR says these sightings typically consist of the young population originating out of the Black Hills of South Dakota.

Mountain lions have been protected in Illinois since 2015, and it is unlawful to hunt, kill, or harass them unless they pose an imminent threat to a person or property. IDNR reminds the public that it is very rare for a mountain lion to pose a threat to people or property. However, if encountered and the animal does not immediately flee, people should stand tall, wave their arms, throw stones or other objects, and yell. Do not run, but slowly back away from the site, keeping an eye on the animal.

IDNR will continue to closely monitor reports in accordance with its large carnivore response plan and work to mitigate threats to public safety and property. If you believe you have footage or have spotted a cougar or mountain lion, visit and fill out a report.