Minneapolis issues warning after cougar spotted in Lowry Hill area
UPDATE: The cougar has been sighted near Kenwood Park and authorities believe it may be going through the Cedar Lake trail system near the Lake of the Isles.
A cougar sighting in Minneapolis has led state and local officials to issue a warning to city residents.
Minneapolis Animal Care and Control along with the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) warned that the large cat may be living or moving around the 1700 block of Logan Avenue South in the city’s Lowry Hill neighborhood.
Two Minneapolis residents, Rick and Kristi, shared footage from their home surveillance cameras that showed a cougar and its apparent prints in the snow.
Because of the sighting, officials are urging people in the area and nearby neighborhoods to be on alert and take some safety precautions.
“We advise people who are either enjoying this area around Cedar Lake or live in the surrounding neighborhoods to be cautious with the confirmed presence of a cougar,” Minneapolis Animal Care and Control Director Caroline Hairfield said. “Parents of small children should pay increased attention when outside. Pet owners with small dogs or cats should supervise their animals when they are outdoors.”
The DNR says it’s “extremely rare” to find cougars in Minnesota, especially in urban areas. Authorities noted that they’re working to track the animal and reminded Minnesotans that it’s illegal to hunt cougars.
Anyone who sees a cougar should call 311 or the DNR at 651-296-6157 and keep the following in mind:
- Don’t run or approach it, as that provokes predators like cougars.
- Face the cougar but avoid eye contact to not seem aggressive.
- If it’s aggressive, try to appear larger by raising your arms or opening your jacket over your head.
- Make noise.
- Be careful to not get between the animal and any cubs.
- Pick up small children and pets with you.
- Quickly opening and closing an umbrella while facing the cougar can help scare it off.
Additionally, the DNR says anyone concerned about a cougar in their area can reduce the chance of attracting one by:
- Keeping trash containers clean and secured.
- Not leaving food outside and not feeding deer or other wildlife.
- Trimming vegetation to avoid concealment for cougars.
- Sealing open areas under structures, like porches, sheds and decks, that can shelter them.
- Installing lighting in dark areas.
While cougars pose only a small risk to pets, the DNR says, that risk can be minimized further by keeping animals inside, supervising them when they’re outside and keeping them on a leash if walking them.
More information on cougars in Minnesota can be found online.