Lion and bear sightings are nothing new in Missoula, but this month, the number of lion sightings is higher than normal. Montana FWP spokesperson Vivica Crowser says there was a sighting before 3:00 a.m. early Friday on the western edge of town.

"A mountain lion and a cub was sighted near Kona Ranch Road, off of Mullan Road. It was in the middle of the night and someone reported it. Something like that, especially on the fringes of town isn't that atypical. with the rivers out there, it is a spot that lions and bears and other wildlife often travel through.

Crowser says there are many are typically two or more mountain lion sightings per month, but that called-in reports have been on the rise recently.

The reason for the increase in sightings is hard to nail down. Crowser points out that recent studies have shown an increase in the total mountain lion population. Also, there is apparently more deer (prey for mountain lions) in certain areas of Missoula.

Anyone that sees a mountain lion in town is asked to notify Fish Wildlife and Parks so that authorities can ensure that the lion isn’t becoming habituated to an urban environment. Lion and bear reports can be submitted at missoulabears.org.