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Mountain lion wasn't a new visitor to Las Vegas valley, wildlife official says |

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Mountain lion wasn't a new visitor to Las Vegas valley, wildlife official says

LAS VEGAS (KLAS) -- New information about the mountain lion that was shot and killed on Monday in the southwest valley: The Nevada Department of Wildlife says the mountain lion was tagged, meaning the animal was in the area before.

Its return is creating concern over public safety in the area where it was captured and killed, near El Capitan Way and Flamingo Road.

Wildlife officials said mountain lions are not rare this deep into the valley. As the drought continues, these wild animals will reappear in search of water and food. That’s what officials are worried about.

A Las Vegas family captured this video from inside their home after a mountain lion was spotted in their backyard.

After two shots, the game wardens where able to capture and kill the wild animal.

“That’s a difficult choice,” said Doug Neilsen of the Nevada Department Of Wildlife. “That choice has to be made in the moment, at that place and at that time.”

Neilsen said mountain lion sightings are becoming frequent around the valley because of the drought. The goal is to relocate the animals. But that's not always what happens.

“The animal did have an ear tag. I don’t know when the animal was handled, maybe in the last few years in the valley and has made its way back, which shows a bad behavior,” Neilsen said. “It’s not good for the animal and not good for the public.”

Over the past year, the state agency has received about 50 calls about sightings. He says these animals are very dangerous and aim to relocate the mountain lion.

“They have public safety, officer safety and then what we can do to the animal. Trapping an animal is most often unsuccessful,” Neilsen said.

Monday's incident involved several attempts to sedate the big cat but Neilsen says it failed until it was cornered in a family's backyard.

“If they come and go we are fine. It’s when they come and stay and show no desire to leave,” he said.

Some advice from the Nevada Department of Wildlife on keeping these animals away from your property:

  • Pick up any food and feces from your pets.
  • Keep trash bins closed and trim landscaping.
  • Most important: Never engage the animal.

The shooting of the mountain lion produced outrage from people who were upset the animal was harmed.

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