Mountain lion spotted on college campus in southeast Missouri

Mountain lion spotted on college campus in southeast Missouri
Published: Apr. 19, 2017 at 2:02 PM CDT|Updated: Apr. 19, 2017 at 10:17 PM CDT
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PARK HILLS, MO (KFVS) - Leaders at Mineral Area College in Park Hills, Missouri are alerting the campus community about a big cat sighting on campus.

According to an emergency alert sent out on Tuesday, April 18, a mountain lion was spotted Tuesday night by a member of the MAC DPS.

"There were tree's on each side of him," said Tammy Belfield, the security guard who reported the sighting. "you could see it laying there... and when it stood up then I was able to definitely able to identify what I was looking at."

School leaders are encouraging people to be aware of their surroundings and walk only in groups after dark.

According to the Missouri Department of Conservation, there is no reason for concern.

Alan Leary, the Wildlife Management Coordinator for the department, said that people should not change their habits or run away if they see a mountain lion. Instead, just leave them alone.

Leary said mountain lions are generally more afraid of us than we are of them.

There have been 69 confirmed sightings of mountain lions in the state of Missouri since tracking began in 1996.

According to Leary, it is extremely rare for a mountain lion to attack a human.

If you do see a mountain lion, you should contact the Department of Conservation. Leary said if you can get a photo of the animal and/or any of its tracks, that would be even better. He said if the animal gets near a fence or something like that, agents can analyze any hair or fur left behind.

You can find more information about mountain lions and how to report possible sightings on the Department of Conservation's website.

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