WASHINGTON TOWNSHIP - Police say that a wild animal, possibly a mountain lion, may be on the loose in northwestern New Jersey.

Officials say that several people have reported seeing the animal, which prompted a region-wide search. Reports of the animal have come from Washington Township, Westwood and Hillsdale.

Officials think the mystery animal could also be a coyote with mange, a disease that makes them lose their hair and turn a golden color.

Authorities are urging residents to be cautious and keep a close eye on kids and pets in backyards. Those that encounter the animal should call police or animal control.