'Big cat' sighting: No reports at two area wildlife areas
Greene County's "big cat" sighting has people talking and speculating if there are others lurking in the local outdoors.
While the first confirmed sighting of a mountain lion in the state of Indiana in decades has state wildlife officials intrigued and busy trying to find the big cat's origin, managers at two area state wildlife properties say they haven't had any similar reports.
Brad Feaster, property manager of the Goose Pond Fish and Wildlife Area in Greene County, said he's not received any reports of mountain lions or other large cat-type animals.
"We haven't seen any here," he said Monday morning.
Steve Siscoe, property manager at Greene-Sullivan State Forest, likewise said there have been no similar recent reports of mountain lions or cat-like animals within the forest boundaries.
There have been reports periodically.
"Occasionally, what we actually get is some bobcat sightings," he told the Greene County Daily World in explaining that some bobcats were captured, tagged and released on Naval Surface Activity (NSA) Crane property.
"Some of those cats were moving quite a bit," Siscoe said. "I'm still getting reports of bobcat sightings. Those sightings are probably pretty good. A couple of years ago, I actually saw one. It ran up a tree and we took some pictures of it."
Siscoe said it adds credibility to this report, since photos were taken.
"Most of those sightings, they either go unconfirmed or are not (mountain) lions. This one actually was positive for the mountain lion," he said.
Siscoe said with expanding ranges of some kinds of animals, there is the potential for those kinds of wildlife to be in this area.
"We just get reports of bears once in a while, but we haven't had any of those in a while." Siscoe said, adding that there have been no confirmed reports of bears in the forest.
Siscoe doesn't see any reason for campers and users of the forest to be overly fearful in the wake of the mountain lion sighting.
"I think with a lot of human activity around, those things are really secretive, even in places where they are pretty common folks just don't see them a lot," he stressed. "With that being said, I think there is very little potential for something to happen. There always could and there is a slim chance, but the chance of something else happening is far greater."
State natural resources experts say the chance of encountering a mountain lion in Indiana is rare, but people should be alert to their surroundings and know what to do.
If an encounter does happen, follow the advice from authorities in Western states where mountain lions are much more common:
* Do not approach a mountain lion. Give it a way to escape.
* Do not run from a mountain lion. Instead, stand and face the animal. Make eye contact.
* Do not crouch or bend over. Do all you can to appear larger. Raise your arms, open your jacket or shirt. Wave your arms slowly and speak firmly in a loud voice.
* Hold children and pets near you.
* Fight back if attacked using big sticks, stones, or any other available items.
If you spot a mountain lion, call the Indiana Department of Natural Resources, Division of Law Enforcement Southeast Region office at ( 812) 837-9536 or the DNR office at (812) 334-1137.