DNR shares information on cougars after possible sightings along Pike Lake Road, Cascade River
Reports of mountain lions roaming areas of Cook County reached the WTIP news desk in late June. The reported sightings were from the Pike Lake Road area, about 10 miles from Grand Marais.
Mountain lions – also referred to as cougars – were found throughout most of Minnesota prior to European settlement, though never in large numbers, according to the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources. Today, they are rarely seen but occasionally do appear, according to the state agency.
While evidence might suggest the animal’s prevalence is increasing, the DNR says the number of verified cougar observations indicate that cougar occurrence in Minnesota is a result of transient animals from the western parts of North and South Dakota.
Although some cougar sightings in Minnesota are accurately identified, many observations from trail cameras and tracks turn out to be cases of mistaken identity. Bobcats, house cats, coyotes, wolves, fishers and light colored dogs have all been mistaken as cougars, the DNR reports.
Because cougar observations are very rare, the DNR is interested in gathering information that can be verified by photos or physical evidence of a cougar sighting. Observations can be submitted to a local wildlife office or conservation officer.
To learn more about where verified cougar sightings have occurred in Minnesota, click here.
Following the recent reports of cougar sightings in Minnesota, WTIP’s Joe Friedrichs spoke with John Erb, a wildlife research scientist for the DNR. Audio below.