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Mountain lion reports investigated in western Sioux Falls

SIOUX FALLS (AP) — South Dakota wildlife officials are investigating reports of a mountain lion roaming in western Sioux Falls.

People who live along Silver Creek have reported sightings. Mark Kantack told the Argus Leader newspaper that he saw the lion on Monday night beneath a tree near his deck.

"I tried to scare it off, and it just kept staring at me," he said, adding that he's worried about the safety of children who like to fish in the creek.

Lion sightings have become more common throughout South Dakota as the animals have moved out of the western Black Hills in search of new territory. If the sighting is confirmed, it would be the first in the state's largest city.

Greg and Linda Andersen, who also live along Silver Creek, are convinced they saw the lion last month. They reported the sighting to the state Game, Fish and Parks Department.

"They said maybe it was a bobcat, but it was no bobcat," Greg Anderson said. "They told my wife it was a coon, but we used to coon hunt, and it wasn't a coon."

Game, Fish and Parks officials said they have not found any tracks or other evidence of a lion in the area. They have now set up a camera in Kantack's backyard.

"We want to make sure that if there is one, we know about it," conservation officer Jared Hill said.