BETHALTO, Ill. — A man in Bethalto saw what he believed was a mountain lion in the early hours of Tuesday morning, police shared.
Bethalto Police shared a Facebook post Friday morning that said a man reported a large cat running into a wooded area.
The man was out for a run at 2:30 a.m. near the intersection of Albers Lane and Whispering Oaks Drive when the reported mountain lion ran from the intersection toward the public works complex.
Police stressed that there have been no other sightings of mountain lions and there is not a known population of the cats in the region. They searched for paw prints and surveillance video to confirm the sighting with no luck. The possible sighting was reported to the Illinois Department of Natural Resources.
Police asked that anyone that sees a mountain lion report it to police for public safety.
If you see a mountain lion, make noise so it is aware of your presence. Make yourself look as big as possible by putting your arms in the air. Do not run, but back away slowly and enter a building or vehicle if possible. It is not likely to attack unless it feels threatened. Fight back with rocks and sticks if it does make contact with you.
Mountain lions have been locally extinct in Illinois for 150 years. A young male mountain lion was killed in Whiteside County in 2019. It was tested to be from a line of South Dakota mountain lions.
Mountain lions are also called cougars, pumas and panthers regionally.