Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Cougar in Twin Cities

Posted by Kirk

There's been another cougar sighting in the Twin Cities. The first sighting was a few days ago in Champlin near the Mississippi River and 169. This would seem to indicate the cat might be using the riparian area of the river as a corridor. The second sighting was last night at about 9:00 pm in Vadnais Heights. The best description of the area I could find was that it was in the 694 and 35E area.

What I find really interesting about this is the possibility this cougar was in downtown Minneapolis. Bear with me here. The most likely place this cougar came from (assuming it is a wild cougar) is South Dakota. Young cougars have been known to wander in from the west as the territories become too crowded out in South Dakota. Evidence tends to suggest that they follow rivers. The assumption is that this cougar came down the Minnesota river valley and then met the Mississippi at Fort Snelling. If it was on the north side of the Minnesota river it would seem natural to take a left hand turn and keep following the river. The left turn woudl put it on the Mississippi. The first sighting of this cougar was NORTH of downtown though. If the cougar really did end up in Champlin by following the river then it must have gone right through downtown Minneapolis to get there. If true, it says a lot about the quality of habitat along the river.

Now, to be fair, there is a chance this is an escaped animal that someone was keeping as a pet and there is also a chance that it was not following the river at all. The most recent sighting in Vadnais Heights certainly wasn't along the river. I guess I just like the idea of this big cat ambling along the river bottoms in the shadow of downtown.

I'm curious to see how this plays out over the next week.



Paul said...

It's always jarring to see a wild animal in an urban or suburban setting. I bike to work in Fort Collins, Colorado, and occasionally happen across foxes. Obviously, this is nothing like a cougar in a big city, but when you're expecting a cat or a dog, it gives you a bit of a jolt.