Recent increase in cougar sightings throughout Minnesota
In recent years cougars have been spotted more frequently throughout Minnesota. According to the Minnesota DNR, the recent increase in cougar sightings are male cougars hunting hundreds of miles away.
Dan Stark, a Large Carnivore Specialist with the Minnesota DNR, said that the recent increase in cougar sightings have increased largely due to technology like backyard cameras.
“We’ve had about 80 occurrences that we’ve verified,” Stark said. “Mostly trail camera photos, but we’ve also had a few cougars that have been killed going back to 2008, mostly have been hit by cars. And those are pretty rare.”
Stark also said that while encounters and attacks are rare, they have happened. “The attacks on humans are really rare. There have been a few in places where they occur or more established in some of the Western states over the last hundred years,” Stark said.
Thankfully, if you ever find a cougar, there are ways to protect yourself. “Try to look bigger. If you’re wearing a jacket, open it up.” Stark said. “It’s if there’s rocks or other things that you could stand on, stand up and elevate yourself. If you’re in a group, stand shoulder to shoulder. just to be a larger object, don’t take your eyes off it.”