HILL AIR FORCE BASE — Staff biologists at Hill Air Force Base have been joined by state wildlife biologists in investigating a pair of unconfirmed sightings of cougars on the military installation's grounds, particularly near housing and a popular walking trail not far from a string of ponds.

Hill officials have sent out notices as a precaution, base spokesman Rich Essary said Thursday, adding that no evidence of the animals' presence has been detected.

Phil Douglass, the state Division of Wildlife Resources' Northern Outreach manager, said there was an unverified sighting last Friday and another one Wednesday morning.

Like Hill's personnel, state wildlife workers were unable to document the actual presence of a big cat on base.

"It may be that someone sees something in the distance and they aren't able to make it out in detail — maybe it's a big dog," Douglass said. "But still, we take all those reports very seriously and investigate them, because it is possible. We live in cougar country, and occasionally mountain lions will end up in town."

The division has a website offering tips on what to do if you encounter a mountain lion. Go to www.wildlife.utah.gov/cougar/pdf/cougar_brochure.pdf.

— Amy Joi O'Donoghue