By Sarah Elmquist Squires, Managing Editor

Although the reported sighting has not been confirmed, the Riverton Police Department (RPD) is alerting residents to a possible mountain lion spotted along River Walk, and is urging people to be cautious. 

RPD issued the warning on Monday, and noted that Wyoming Game and Fish officials had been alerted. “Possible sightings of mountain lions in urban areas should be reported to Game and Fish as soon as possible,” RPD shared, along with the Game and Fish tip line, 1-877-WGFD-TIP (1-877-943-3847). 

Mountain lions are known to typically avoid confrontations with humans, but they can still pose a risk, especially to pets and small children. Game and Fish officials suggest that people travel in groups and make plenty of noise, and be aware of areas with thick cover. If you spot a mountain lion, talk to it calmly and firmly, they advise, and move away slowly. Raise your arms to appear bigger. Do not run, as that could trigger the lion’s instinct to chase and attack. Always ensure there is a path open for the cat to escape. 

Keep a close eye on kids playing outdoors, and try to be sure they are indoors between dusk and dawn. Additionally, wildlife officials caution against feeding wildlife, as it could attract raccoons and other mountain lion prey to your home. Bringing pets inside at night is also suggested, but if you do leave a pet outside at night, keep it secure in a kennel with a secure top. 

Keeping the perimeter of your home well-lit at night is another recommendation. Above all else, be aware of your surroundings. “If you encounter a mountain lion, remember every situation is different with respect to the lion, the terrain, the people, and their activity,” Game and Fish advises. “If a lion attacks you, fight back, defend yourself by throwing things at it (rocks, branches, etc.) or anything you can get your hands on.”