Brookhaven College issues alert for mountain lion, but some experts skeptical

Brookhaven College on Monday warned students about what school officers thought was a mountain lion that was seen on the far north side of campus. But experts and other officials are growing increasingly skeptical of the claim.

According to a release, the animal was spotted around 3 p.m. Saturday near the college's power plant. It was moving toward the woods near the archery range.

The school said animal control officers found tracks and claimed that it was not a bobcat or other small predator. They set traps for a large cat, college officials said.

But an urban biologist with Texas Parks and Wildlife who looked at paw prints in the area said it's highly unlikely the animal spotted was actually a mountain lion.

Sam Kieschnick said the mix-up is understandable, especially when people catch just a glimpse of an animal on the move and it’s tough to gauge its size. He said the tracks lead him to believe it was a coyote or possibly some type of dog.

“With the bobcat, typically we are talking 15 to 30 pounds. Mountain lion 70 to give or take 170,” Kieschnick said.

While mountain lions do live in Texas they're typically found west of North Texas and to the south in the Hill Country.

“To hear of one moving through the area is incredibly unlikely -- not to say it's impossible. But it's very, very unlikely but nonetheless we still we take these claims serious so we do want to come out and investigate,” Kieschnick said.