BUTTE – While enjoying a quiet morning at the Mountain Con park in Butte Thursday, a man noticed a much bigger-than-normal cat — turns out, it was a mountain lion.
“Animal control responded up there, as well as Fish and Game, they were not able to locate the animal, so they did post the area to use caution in the area,” said Butte Sheriff Ed Lester.
Because the area gets plenty of foot traffic, signs have been put up to warn people walking the trails.
“Again, we didn’t see it except the one individual. Hopefully, it’s left the area and we won’t have to deal with it,” said Lester.
Some park-goers did not see the warning signs about the mountain lion sighting.
“It makes me a little anxious, I’m glad I’m heading back to my car. I usually just see them in the Highlands area. I see elk and deer all the time up here, but I never see a cat. No, not up here,” said Taylor Butler.
And while it’s not unusual to find mountain lions on the outskirts of Butte, it is not common to have one reported so close to an urban area like this Centerville neighborhood, and that’s why authorities are erring on the side of caution.
“It’s a park area, it’s used by people that are walking in the area for exercise pretty much all the daylight hours anyway, so it’s a concern when there’s an animal like that in the proximity of humans,” the sheriff said.
Anyone who sees the mountain lion in the area should immediately call 911.
-John Emeigh reporting for MTN News