(WILLIAMS) - Michael Mahoney, of Williams, was sitting on his porch on Lynch Road, Tuesday morning talking to his dog when he noticed a mountain lion rolling around in his yard.
"It was about 200 feet from me," Mahoney says. "It was a good size cat, about the size of two golden retrievers."
This is the first time Mahoney has seen the mountain lion.
"It acted friendly," Mahoney says. "It ran off when the neighbors came over and their young daughter screamed. It was just rolling around in the grass with not a care in the world."
Indiana Conservation Officer Angela Goldman says there are not a lot of mountain lions in the area and the ones that are were someone's pet that got loose, or were brought in from other areas and released.
"We get several calls reporting sightings, but most are unfounded," Goldman says. "There is zero evidence to back up the sightings. But it is very possible that Mr. Mahoney did see a mountain lion."
Conservation officers need evidence a mountain lion was seen.
"Photos, scat, prints or hair tell us the animal was defiantly there," she says. "We did have one photographed east of Bloomfield in May 2011, but it has not been seen since."
The huge cat was caught by motion-sensitive game cameras after reports of mountain lion activity in the area. DNR officials could not verify if the cat was wild or a formerly captive cat.
The chance of encountering a mountain lion in Indiana is almost non-existent, with the last confirmed case of a wild cat in Indiana somewhere between 1850 and 1865, according to Goldman.
Once a sighting has been confirmed the information is forwarded to Indiana Fish and Wildlife who will send a wildlife biologist to investigate and gather data.
Goldman says people should be alert and not try to approach, corner or run from a mountain lion. Instead, the DNR urges people to stand and face the animal, make eye contact and try to appear as large as possible. If confronted, a person should wave their arms slowly and speak firmly in a loud voice.
Mountain lions are a protected species in Indiana, but state law allows a resident landowner or tenant to kill a mountain lion while it is causing damage to property.
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