San Antonio parks and recreation officials recently decided to close three city parks and wilderness areas on the city’s northwest side off I-10, citing public safety concerns amid TV news reports about a series of reported mountain lion sightings. Several department Wildlife Division employees investigated the reports this past week, interviewing witnesses and visiting the three parks and also Leon Creek river drainages under I-10, but TPWD found no physical evidence of a lion.
The investigating team did note considerable construction and development in the area, causing a “bottle neck” where natural habitat is disappearing. “We are treating these reported sightings seriously and carefully, following our recently completed Mountain Lion response protocol,” said John Young, TPWD mammalogist in Austin, who keeps records of lion sightings and mortalities in Texas. “But we have not definitively determined that there is a mountain lion in this area.
It is a scientifically documented fact that people typically confuse mountain lions with a whole host of other animals.” In 2006, TPWD formed an internal committee involving wildlife biologists, game wardens, state park rangers and others to develop written guidelines for handling mountain lion reports and incidents.