DEKALB COUNTY, Ill. -- A mountain lion was struck and killed by a vehicle on I-88 in DeKalb County on Sunday, according to the Illinois Dept. of Natural Resources.
IDNR said they believe it was the same mountain lion, also called a cougar, that was spotted on a wildlife camera in Whiteside County in late September.
The mountain lion's body has been delivered to the University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana for a necropsy and DNA analysis to determine its place of origin and movements across the Midwest, officials said.
Mountain lions were eliminated from Illinois prior to the 1870s due to habitat loss and overharvest, according to IDNR. Although extremely rare in Illinois, mountain lion sightings have been confirmed in Illinois during the past few decades.
In 2008, a 150-pound mountain lion was shot and killed by police in an alley in the Roscoe Village neighborhood on Chicago's North Side.
IDNR officials are reminding the public that it is unlawful to hunt, kill, or harass mountain lions unless they pose an imminent threat to a person or property.
It is very rare for a mountain lion to pose a threat to people or property, the IDNR said. But if one is encountered and does not immediately flee, officials say you should stand tall, wave your arms, throw stones or other objects and yell. Rather than running, back away slowly from the animal.