If you're planning a weekend getaway to a lake in Illinois that's not far from St. Louis, you might want to know that there have been mountain lion sightings in the area.

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I saw this alert regarding Gillespie Lakes in Illinois from KSDK in St. Louis. This lake area is located northeast of St. Louis.

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Google Maps

KSDK is reporting that officials at Gillespie Lakes are warning of big cats in the area as this sign shows.

KSDK News via YouTube
KSDK News via YouTube

The video description on the YouTube share included a quote from one of the officials there.

Once the food is gone more than likely they’ll leave," said Gary Thornhill. Right now there’s a lot of fawns and rabbits, so they do have an ample amount of food

At the moment, they're advising extreme caution if you plan to spend time near Gillespie Lakes. Hikers or anyone in the woods are advised to travel in pairs.

What should you do if you encounter a mountain lion?

While they mentioned in the video that tools like pepper spray can work, anyone that encounters one of these mountain lions is advised to make themselves look large and slowly back away from the animal giving them space to retreat. You do not want to make a mountain lion or any big cat like this feel cornered. Most of the cats are actually very reclusive and avoid human contact. Attacks are rare and will normally only happen when a food source is nearby or the cat feels threatened or if a person flees and appears like prey.

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