SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (WICS/WRSP) — A roaming mountain lion has been making headlines across states and in Springfield.
Illinois Conservation Police tell us the mountain lion was found Friday around noon in a backyard near Iles and Checkerberry Lane.
It has since been moved.
The Illinois Department of Natural Resources says the mountain lion was tranquilized and taken to the Exotic Feline Rescue Center (ERFC), a 260-acre feline sanctuary in Center Point, Indiana that provides homes and veterinary care for large and exotic cats.
The decision came after officials determined the mountain lion that had strayed into residential and business areas of Springfield posed an imminent threat to residents and property and therefore needed to be removed.
“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,” said IDNR Director Colleen Callahan. “I am confident that the mountain lion will be protected and cared for at its new home. I also want to thank the families of Springfield for being cautious and keeping their distance while our experts worked to ensure the safety of the community and the mountain lion.”
RELATED: Mountain lion spotted on Springfield's west side
A District 186 spokesperson says Vachel Lindsay School on the city's westside had been holding indoor recess leading up to this.
Now, recess will be going back to normal.
The Illinois Department of Natural Resources tracked the rare animal using technology to Springfield's west side.
The DNR said the big cat, which was fitted last year with a GPS collar by the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission, was detected Wednesday morning by satellite on the city's western edge and remained there for much of the day, mostly sleeping in a secluded area.