Rare Cougar Sighting in Minneapolis, What the DNR Has to Say
In the wee hours of Monday morning, there was a cougar that made its way through a Minneapolis, Minnesota neighborhood. It was in the Lowry Hill neighborhood and was caught on camera by at least two people in the area.
The first camera sighting was around 3:30 AM on Monday morning, according to FOX 9, so the cougar was out and about when most people were in bed, thankfully.
While it's always crazy to hear about a cougar sighting in Minnesota, it's not unheard of. The Minnesota DNR says that cougars will sometimes travel through Minnesota but never stay here long. However, they also say that a sighting like this in such a populated neighborhood is "extremely rare".
How Often Cougars are Spotted in Minnesota
Between 2004 and now there has been only one other time that a cougar was captured on camera in Hennepin County, according to FOX 9. So not only is it rare that the big cat was spotted in this heavily populated area, but it's also super rare that it was caught on camera!
The Minnesota DNR says that there is no "self-sustaining, breeding population" of cougars in our state. They believe that there are only a few cougars that pass through but the number of sightings of those cougars has gone up in recent years.
They have data online of the number of cougar sightings across Minnesota since 2004. 2020 had the most sightings at 15, but again, that could have been the same couple of cougars. Also, it's worth noting that a cougar sighting can mean seeing paw prints, scat, roadkill, or seeing it in person or on camera. In 2023 we've had 8 sightings reported.
What to Do if You Encounter a Cougar
So what do you do if you happen to encounter a cougar? First of all, do not shoot it. Cougars are protected under Minnesota law so it is illegal to shoot a cougar. Instead, you should make yourself as big as possible and make lots of loud noises to scare it away.
Whether you have a close encounter like that with a cougar or you see something like scat, paw prints, or you catch a cougar on camera, the Minnesota DNR wants you to report the sighting to the nearest area wildlife office or conservation officer.
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Gallery Credit: Dom DiFurio & Jacob Osborn