Mountain Lions Are Roaming the Country

Numerous states report cougar sightings.

| May/June 2013

In 2009, in the Minneapolis suburb of Champlin, an estimated 6-foot-long cougar was caught crossing a highway by the dashboard camera of a police officer’s car. That cougar was sighted several times over the next few weeks in other suburbs around the Minneapolis metro area, and the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (MDNR) confirmed that the cat caught on tape was indeed a mountain lion. Just last summer, more than 200 miles north of Minneapolis near Fergus Falls, Minnesota, a picture of a cougar was caught on a hunter’s game camera, which was later confirmed by the DNR. Over the last few years, confirmed sightings of cougars have been reported across the Midwest from Kansas City to Chicago. The Cougar Network, a nonprofit research organization dedicated to studying habitat relationships and the role of cougars in the ecosystems, confirmed that reports of cougar sightings have steadily increased over the last few years in areas of North America where they haven’t been seen in more than a century. Consider the sightings in the following states as an indication of the increase in the cougar’s range:

Kansas: Five confirmed cougar sightings by the Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks since 2007, three within the last two years.

Minnesota: Twelve confirmed sightings since 2009, with the assistance of the Minnesota DNR.

Missouri: Twenty-one confirmed sightings, eight since 2011.

Wisconsin: Eight confirmed sightings, with three occurring since 2011.

Iowa: Three wild cougars have been killed since 2001, with several recent confirmed sightings; the state DNR suspects the presence of transient animals passing through the state.

3/14/2014 10:17:17 AM

I live in Valle Crucis, NC just outside of Boone. I have seen a cougar when my little 20# dog started chasing something up the hill. I turned just in time to see a gracefully lumbering cat with a long blonde tail with about a 6" black tip. Fortunately my dog ran out of electric fence before the cat ran out of patience Another time recently, I saw another cougar on my property about 2 miles down the road, crouching in a driveway in a stealthy position (we have a lot of deer there and my neighbor feeds them - sometimes more than 20 at a time show up) The man putting in the driveway said he saw a half eaten deer one day and nothing left of it the next.

3/14/2014 7:30:16 AM

I live in southwestern Pennsylvania, one summer morning in 2005, we saw a black cat drinking water from our in ground pool. The strange thing was this cat's tail hit the ground.

Brenda Doolin
5/8/2013 12:29:48 PM

These cats never left these areas. My family has lived in the same creek bottom in west central Ilinois for 100 years and they have always been there in that time and we know they were there BEFORE that from historical records in our county. If conservation officers would get out of their trucks once in awhile they might have known this. They have only ensured the population growth by adding more males to these states.

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