Mountain lion spotted near school in Rapid City, South Dakota

RAPID CITY, S.D. (AP) _ A Rapid City school kept students indoors after a mountain lion was spotted on school grounds before classes started.

Rapid Valley Elementary went into lockdown Friday after the mountain lion was seen about 5:30 a.m., the Rapid City Journal reported.

"Prior to school starting, we had everyone outside bringing everybody in immediately,'' Rapid City Superintendent Tim Mitchell said.

Elementary Principal Cher Daniel said the decision to keep the school's 580 students indoors for the day was made after the lion was spotted on a security camera recording.

Electronically generated phone calls notified parents about the lion and told them that students would not be allowed outside for recesses. The message also told parents to consider options for students who usually walk home after school.

State Game, Fish and Parks wildlife manager John Kanta said officials received another report of a mountain lion in Rapid City earlier in the week.

Kanta said he watched the school's video of the lion and immediately brought dogs to the area in an effort to find the cat.

"We had the dogs in and we searched the area very well,'' Kanta said. "What we're doing now is backing off. We'll wait and see if there is another sighting.''

Many mountain lions have been seen or killed in the past year in Rapid City, including three that were shot in June.

Capt. Corey Brubakken of the Pennington County Sheriff's Office said someone passing by the school spotted the mountain lion early Friday morning in the fog in front of the school and called 911.

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