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Voyageurs Wolf Project trail camera captures rare cougar sighting

A popular trail cam in northern Minnesota captured a rare sight.
Credit: Voyageurs Wolf Project

INTERNATIONAL FALLS, Minn. — A trail camera stationed by researchers in northern Minnesota as part of their work to study wolves in Voyageurs National Park has captured video of an uncommon sight.

The Voyageurs Wolf Project trail camera spotted a cougar taking a stroll on Oct. 20 in the southern part of the park.

A social post from researchers exclaimed, "Got our first video of a cougar!"

According to the researchers, the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) has only been able to verify 59 cougar observations in the state since 2004... that's just 3.4 observations a year.

DNR officials say the cougar, also called a mountain lion or puma, was found throughout most of Minnesota prior to European settlement, but always in small numbers.

Annual winter tracking surveys have recorded "no evidence to suggest the possibility of a resident breeding population of cougars in Minnesota," according to the DNR's website.

Most of the cougars spotted in Minnesota are thought to be transient young males traveling from breeding populations of cougars in the western Dakotas, according to researchers.

The Voyageurs Wolf Project is funded by the University of Minnesota and the Minnesota Environment and Natural Resources Trust Fund.

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