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'Unusual' to have mountain lion sighting so far inland

Park Police
Posted at 10:04 PM, May 02, 2022
and last updated 2022-05-03 15:10:47-04

LAS VEGAS (KTNV) — It's an unexpected place for a mountain lion to pop up. A Spring Valley neighborhood got quite the surprise when one was spotted there on Monday.

“They closed the whole street down. It took maybe a couple of hours," said Alex Romero, who lives in the area where the mountain lion was seen, near Flamingo Road and Jones Boulevard.

Romero was surprised to see police cars and animal control by West Flamingo Park, where officers and game wardens searched for a loose mountain lion. Romero says she can’t believe a big cat would travel this far.

“No never. It’s too close to the Strip. There’s no way,” she said.

RELATED: LVMPD calls off search for mountain lion after it fled from officers

Doug Nielsen with the Nevada Department of Wildlife is also in disbelief. He says mountain lion sightings are not uncommon in the valley and are usually close to the foothills along Red Rock or major washes. This big cat traveled seven miles from the western outskirts.

“To see an animal this far in the valley, where it’s documented and the sighting is confirmed, is pretty unusual in my career,” he said.

LVMPD says the mountain lion was spotted but evaded capture. After an extensive search, it was called off.

“These animals are more elusive than people might think they are,” Nielsen said.

He says as to why this big cat was found so far inland, his best guess is finding food.

“It could be because there’s a shortage of food in the mountains and he was wandering, trying to find something that might be a little more plentiful,” he said.

Nielsen says the public should remain vigilant by keeping an eye on their backyards and keeping pets — especially small ones — inside the house. It’s advice neighbors plan to follow.

“We keep her inside anyways and I also have a cat and we also keep him inside,” said Brandon Didi, who lives in Spring Valley.