SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) — The Illinois Department of Natural Resources is urging the public to avoid contact with a mountain lion that’s been detected in the state capital using technology that tracked the rare animal to Springfield’s west side.
The DNR said the big cat, which was fitted last year with a GPS collar by the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission, was detected Wednesday morning by satellite on the city’s western edge and remained there for much of the day, mostly sleeping in a secluded area.
Conservation police, local authorities and Nebraska state biologists are monitoring the animal’s movement and notifying people about its presence, the (Peoria) Journal Star reported.
The DNR asked people to leave the mountain lion alone because the animals are a protected species in Illinois and it’s illegal to kill them unless they pose an imminent threat to person or property.
If anyone does encounter the mountain lion, the DNR said they should stand tall, wave their arms, throw rocks or yell, while slowly backing away and keeping an eye on the animal.
The mountain lion had been expected to leave Springfield’s west side Wednesday night, the DNR said in a Facebook posting.
Its appearance in Springfield marks the second time in recent weeks a mountain lion has been detected in Illinois. The DNR said last week that a mountain lion was struck and killed on Oct. 16 by a vehicle along Interstate 88 in DeKalb County.