University of Maryland campus police in College Park alerted students and workers of a possible cougar sighting reported near the wooded areas of the Comcast Center and Arena Drive yesterday.
A university police spokesman said the department received a call about 6 a.m. yesterday from a maintenance worker who said he had seen a 4-foot-long, light tan and tawny brown animal with a 4-foot tail.
The description of the animal, which would weigh about 50 pounds, fits that of a cougar, according to campus police. The animal was also seen near Cole Field House and the Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center over the past two days, police said.
Capt. John Brandt said university police will work with the Department of Natural Resources to try to find the animal. Brandt said that if it is a cougar, it would tend to appear at dusk or dawn.
"If it's a threat, we'll deal with it," Brandt said. "But cougars don't consider people their prey."
Cougar sightings in this area are rare. The animal generally resides in the western United States and some parts of Canada.