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Mountain lion seen in Pavillion

Jul 31, 2012 - By Christina George, Staff Writer

Deer in town likely attracted the cougar, which has not been aggressive toward humans.

Wyoming Game and Fish officials are investigating the recent sighting of a mountain lion in Pavillion.

"We spent quite a bit of time there visiting with folks and doing an investigation on why the lion may be there," said Game and Fish management officer Brian DeBolt.

"It's not the first lion in Pavillion and definitely not the last."

According to the Fremont County Sheriff's dispatch log, at 6:11 p.m. Saturday, police received a call regarding a mountain lion in a tree at a residence in the 100 block of East Euclid Avenue in the rural town.

A second sighting was reported to authorities at about the same time Sunday. This time, a woman told police her 9-year-old daughter saw a cougar in the alley in the 300 block of North Cherry Street.

DeBolt believes both sightings involved the same animal, because the two locations are less than a quarter-mile from one another.

He said both times the mountain lion was alone and didn't act aggressive toward people.

"We hope it moves on, but if it continues to hang around and be seen, we might have to take some action," he said.

DeBolt said deer in town likely attracted the cougar.

"It's just a reminder there are a lot of deer in town, which is their primary prey source," he said. "That's likely the major reason the lion was in town."

Pavillion is not the only community that has been visited by a mountain lion.

"They have been on the edges of Riverton and Lander, pretty much everywhere in Fremont County," DeBolt said. "It's mostly associated with deer, and the problem becomes worse when people artificially concentrate the deer by feeding them."

In early July, a landowner on the Lower North Fork Road by Milford shot and killed a mountain lion after it killed the family's pet cat. DeBolt said it's legal to shoot a mountain lion that is threatening a person's safety or property.

Earlier in the spring, another cougar killed a dog at a residence near Milford.

DeBolt encourages residents not to feed deer, and to keep an eye on their pets and children, especially at dusk and dawn and through the nighttime hours.

"Don't feed wildlife. Outdoor lighting is always good," he continued. "If anyone sees a lion acting unusual or in an unusual location, we ask them to report it to us."

Despite the recent events, DeBolt said this summer has not experienced above-normal sightings.

Game and Fish can be reached at 332-2688.

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