Monday, December 18, 2006

Mountain lion sighting closes Austin, TX, trail

10:50 AM CST on Thursday, December 14, 2006

Nature trails at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center in South Austin are closed after several people spotted a mountain lion. The sighting has still not been confirmed by Texas Parks and Wildlife officials, but experts will look into the claims.

Experts say the animals should not be considered dangerous.

"There have been only 15 fatalities in the last 100 years in North America," said Mark Simmons, Ecologist for the Center.

Simmons says if a mountain lion does live there, it's actually a positive thing.

'I would view this as a good sign. For somewhere like Austin, we're managing our water quality protection land properly. There are wildlife corridors. These are functioning ecosystems. We live in the midst of one,' said Simmons.

The news still came as a shock to visitors at the Center.

"You really don't want to think of seeing a mountain lion here!" said Cameron Duggins.

Experts have estimated there are approximately 4,000 mountain lions in Texas, based on genetic diversity analysis.

If you see one, you should not run. If you feel threatened, make loud noises to scare it away. stories/121306kvuenature-bkm.88d3ef4.html#

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