LITTLE ROCK, Ark. – The Arkansas Game and Fish Commission has confirmed a mountain lion has been spotted in southwest Arkansas.

The animal was spotted in Amity in Clark County, south of Glenwood between Texarkana and Hot Springs. The sighting was reported by a hunter who saw it on a game camera and was determined to be credible by AGFC biologists.

Since 2010, Natural State residents have reported 23 mountain lion sightings, AGFC stated.

Also known as pumas or cougars, mountain lions were at one time throughout Arkansas until about 1920. They are typically reclusive and avoid human contact.

A deer hunter shot and killed a 148-pound mountain lion in 2014 east of Hermitage in Bradley County. It was the first time one had been killed in Arkansas since 1975, AGFC officials said. DNA revealed the animal very likely came from Marion County after a sighting there six weeks earlier.

Officials said the animal most likely originated from the Black Hills breeding population of Wyoming and South Dakota. 

AGFC large carnivore biologist Myron Means said the animal researched in 2014 traveling from north to south Arkansas in six weeks shows how far and quickly a mountain lion can travel in a short period. He added that restrictions on hunting the animals exist. 

“Mountain lions are not game animals; just like with other animals that do not have a recognized hunting season, they are illegal to kill,” Means said, adding, “A limited self-defense exception exists in regulation when a person acts ‘under a good faith belief that he was protecting himself or other persons from imminent bodily harm or serious injury.’”

AGFC asks that anyone who spots a mountain lion and has verifiable evidence to contact the nearest agency office.