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Nov. 24, 2010

By Steve Marschke
 News-Ledger Editor    

  Local police issued an alert after a city contractor reported seeing a mountain lion on two successive days last week in Southport. But after an investigation that brought in a county-hired trapper, they’re inclined to see the sightings were mistaken.

  “There was no evidence of a mountain lion in that area,” said Lieutenant Tod Sockman of the West Sacramento Police Department. “There were dog footprints and dog poop, but no mountain lion prints. There are coyotes in the area, and there could be other things that could be confused for a mountain lion.”

  The sightings were made by a contractor hired for weed abatement. She reported seeing the mountain lion around 11:30 a.m. to noon on both November 16 and 17. Usually, the animals are most active in the evening, night and early morning hours.

  The sightings were reported in an undeveloped area near Stone Lock and South River Road. The location is just north of Milano Drive and San Marcos Street in the Gateway subdivision.

  When the reports were received, local police contacted the county’s trapper and notified the state Fish and Game Department.

  Mountain lions are rare in West Sacramento, although they are relatively common in the foothills and are occasionally seen in undeveloped areas such as the American River trail in Sacramento. They can be a threat to pets or children, and are occasionally a threat to adult humans.

  Southport did get a visit from one of the big cats in July of 2009. A mountain lion was spotted along the Clarksburg Trail behind Nugget Market in West Sacramento. At one point, searchers tried to set up a perimeter and catch the animal. But it slipped away.

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