Bobcat sightings in northern Iowa may become more common - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Bobcat sightings in northern Iowa may become more common

Bobcat sightings in northern Iowa may become more common

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WAVERLY (KWWL) -

While two Waverly police officers catching a bobcat on video may be a career first, bobcat sightings in general could happen more often.

Sergeant Curtis Hansel and Officer Tyler Homeister usually spend third shift doing routine checks, looking for drunk drivers and checking out reported burglaries. On Friday morning, the duo made an unexpected stop on 8th Street Southeast in Waverly.

"First I thought it was just a large cat, but it was too large," Homeister said. "I happened to notice it looked like a bobcat, so we started filming."

The officers heard that a bobcat was spotted just north of Waverly a few days before the video, but these officers were able to capture the cat on video.

"It was pretty exciting, I guess, to be able to see a big bobcat since he was a pretty large one -- and actually seeing it and watch him for a few minutes before he walked off," Hansel said.

This was the first bobcat Hansel has seen in his 20 years of law enforcement, but Department of Natural Resources officials say these bobcat spottings will become more common.

Biologist Vince Evelsizer says Iowa's bobcat population is between 2,000 and 3,000 and it is growing. Evelsizer says the population in southern Iowa is becoming more dense and well established, and now the animals are expanding their habitats to northern Iowa.

While bobcats are becoming more common in this part of Iowa, officials stress that humans are not in any danger.

Bobcats don't usually exceed 35 pounds, and they prey on small animals like mice and rabbits. The cats are solitary creatures and are generally scared by humans.

For more information on Iowa's bobcat population, go to: http://www.eeob.iastate.edu/faculty/ClarkW/html/bobcat.html.

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