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MOUNTAIN LION: Big Cat Reported Near School

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A big cat caused a big scare at a metro elementary school Wednesday.

The playground at Clay Elementary School in Altoona was unusually quiet Wednesday during recess.  Kids were kept inside the building amid fears over a mountain lion.

A witness told school officials she saw a mountain lion cross the street about a mile away from the school.  Police checked out the area, but didn’t spot any sign of a big cat.

On Monday the manager of an apartment complex on East Hubbell Avenue reported seeing a mountain lion.  The complex is about three miles west of the school.  Experts say it wouldn't be surprising for a mountain lion to travel that far.

"Absolutely because those big cats can move 30, 40, 50 miles a day pretty easily." says Kevin Baskins with the Iowa Department of Natural Resources, "Sometimes greater distances."

This wouldn't be the first time a big cat was spotted in the area.  Des Moines police shot and killed a mountain lion near the east mixmaster last October.

Experts say mountain lions rarely attack people.

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