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More mountain lion sightings reported in Pocatello

Idaho Department of Fish and Game officials responded to two reports of mountain lion sightings in the vicinity of Red Hill Trail behind Mountain View Cemetery in Pocatello over the weekend.

Officials said, at this time, the sightings have not been confirmed.

The first call came in on Saturday evening. Agency and university personnel were not able to find any sign of the mountain lion that evening.

The second call came in around 12:30 a.m. Monday morning. IDFG personnel responded to the scene during daylight hours and used drones to survey the area. IDFG also authorized an expert mountain lion hunter with a trained hound to work the area in an attempt to pick up a scent trail for the animal or to even find tracks.

None of these efforts were able to confirm a mountain lion presence in the area, so the reported sightings remain unconfirmed.

IDFG responded to a report of a treed mountain lion in the same area along Red Trail on Friday, May 11. That animal, a healthy adult male, was successfully darted and moved to a very remote location in southeast Idaho.

Five days later on May 16, another report of a mountain lion in the Red Trail area occurred; however, like the reports from this weekend, it could not be confirmed IDFG reports.

There have also been reported sightings of mountain lions near Charlotte Road in Mink Creek, on Birdie Thompson Drive in Pocatello and on Pocatello Creek Road during the month of May.

“It is unusual to get so many mountain lion reports this time of year,” says Jennifer Jackson, Regional Conservation Educator for the Idaho Department of Fish and Game, Southeast Region. “Though mountain lion sightings in and around Pocatello do happen throughout the year, especially during winter when more deer are down low, we don’t have an explanation for why we are getting so many reports this particular spring.”

IDFG is investigating these sightings and is looking at various factors to try to explain the increase of reports from the public.

Though encounters between people and mountain lions are rare, there are some points to keep in mind if you do encounter a mountain lion.

Do not run. If you are with children, pick them up without bending over. Do not turn your back on the lion, crouch down, or try to hide. Remain facing the lion and slowly back away. Leave the animal an escape route. Try to appear as large as possible–stand on a rock or stump, hold up your arms, stand next to others. Shout, wave your arms, and throw objects if the lion does not leave the area. Carry bear spray. If the mountain lion charges, use it! Fight back if a mountain lion attacks. Stay on your feet and use sticks, rocks, backpack, hands to fight back. Never approach a mountain lion or offer it food.

In Idaho, there have been three reported attacks of mountain lions on humans since 1990, and none of those encounters were lethal.

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