Wandering cougar may have ditched suburbs, gone to Wisconsin

First a cougar was sighted in Champlin, then in Vadnais Heights, and later in Stillwater. One DNR expert thinks all the sightings involve the same big cat, and the service has been collecting DNA samples to test that theory. Now it appears the beast may have made its way into Wisconsin. According to a report in the Star Tribune, a farmer photographed cougar tracks on his land about 35 miles east of the St. Croix River.

DNR biologist Harvey Halvorsen picked up the cougar's trail on Friday, tracking the big cat for more than a mile to the Eau Galle River. The next night, a motion-activated trail camera near Downsville in Dunn County photographed a cougar. DNR biologist Jess Carstens verified the tracks on Monday, indicating the cougar is moving south and east at a rate of 5 to 7 miles a day.

Cougars are a protected species in Wisconsin, just as they are in Minnesota.

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