By Laura Haefeli

NATOMAS (CBS13) – Natomas Unified School District says mountain lions were sighted near North Natomas schools. The sightings forced students to stay behind closed gates.

“We had an announcement sent out by our principal that there were two mountain lion sightings in the area,” says Inderkum high school student Chloe Chism, who spent her lunch period inside. “I was surprised but not really scared. There is also coyotes.”

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Mountain lions pose a much bigger risk. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, male lions can reach up to eight feet in length.

“What if I’m not fast enough?” says Nancy Zuniga who asked herself that question while sitting inside Inderkum high school. “You wouldn’t expect it from Natomas, it’s so busy.”

It’s not the first time a big cat has visited Natomas. Back in 2019, a 123-pound male mountain lion was tranquilized by animal control after roaming the area.

“We went through this a year ago in Natomas so as a parent we were kind of heightened alert,” says Kari Chism, whose daughter Chloe says she did feel safe at school.

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“I was sure the school would keep us safe,” said Chloe.

The Natomas Unified School District did take precautions, moving lunch periods inside and modifying gym classes.

Deidra Powell is the district’s spokesperson.

“We asked all the schools to keep the kids behind the gate,” said Powell.

Students who left campus were told to walk in groups. After school sports and activities were not cancelled.

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If you do spot the lion, call the Sacramento police department.