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Rural Rapid City residents worried about mountain lion

RAPID CITY (AP) — Residents of a canyon area just outside the Rapid City limits are pressing for state wildlife officials to remove a mountain lion they say has killed a deer and dozens of cats, but the Game, Fish and Parks Department says its hands are tied.

Linda Eddy said after the lion killed the deer she found the carcass in her yard and blood on her deck. Area residents are concerned for their safety and that of their children and pets, she said.

"It's just getting too close for comfort," Eddy said.

Game, Fish and Parks Regional Supervisor Mike Kintigh said he understands the concerns but that rules bar the agency from killing the lion. If it was attacking pets or livestock, was threatening people or was inside the city limits then wildlife officials would act immediately, but for now all they can do is monitor the situation, he said.

There also might be more than one lion, which would not be unusual for the Black Hills, he said.

Lion attacks against people are rare and attacks leading to death are even rarer — most lions scamper away as soon as humans stand up or make noise, according to Kintigh.

"More people are killed every year by lightning strikes," he said.