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Mountain lion sightings in Missoula's south hills prompt bus stop warning

Published On: Dec 24 2013 06:54:36 AM MST   Updated On: Sep 27 2013 05:48:04 PM MDT

Due to mountain lion sightings in Missoula's south hills, MCPS is asking parents to accompany children in the area as they go to and from schools and bus stops.

An alert was sent out to parents Friday afternoon. It read: "Due to recent mountain lion sightings in the Pattee Canyon, South Hills and Miller Creek areas, Beach Transportation and Fish, Wildlife and Parks representatives are recommending that all children in these areas be accompanied to and from their bus stops by a parent/adult."

A Beach Transportation school bus driver spotted the mountain lion crossing the road shortly before 7:30 a.m.  Beach Transportation's General Manager Bob Mitchell said he email a school administrator about the sighting and also called school secretaries at Chief Charlo, Lewis and Clark, Meadow Hill and Washington Middle School this morning.

MCPS sent out the alert to all parents around 2 p.m.

Kristin Williams' daughter is a kindergartener at Chief Charlo. She met her daughter at the bus stop Friday after school. "It's a little concerning. My daughter's not very big and I wouldn't want her to be alone, that's for sure," Williams said. "I'm glad they sent the notifications."

Fish, Wildlife and Parks' Jamie Jonkel said he wasn't surprised about the sighting. "This is a fairly routine sighting in that area," Jonkel said. "We get bear, we get lion, we get wolves, we get deer and elk, moose trying to move through that little corridor. So just the way the ridges line up, didn't surprise me that we saw a lion."

If you see a mountain lion or have additional questions about mountain lions and/or bears please contact Fish, Wildlife and Parks at http://missoulabears.org.