DNR Locates Mountain Lion

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Wildlife managers from the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) have located a mountain lion (cougar) that was fitted with a radio collar late last winter in the Black Hills of South Dakota. The animal was found on Jan. 10 in the Roseau River Wildlife Management Area (WMA) during an aerial flight near the Manitoba border in western Roseau County. The wildlife staff located the lion?s radio signal while conducting a winter deer census in the area, according to Donovan Pietruszewski, Karlstad area wildlife manager.

Prior to the recent DNR flight, the radio signal from the mountain lion was last documented near Karlstad on Dec. 21, about 40 miles southwest of the present location. The animal was making news in North Dakota during December, as North Dakota Game and Fish personnel tracked the animal crossing the state after leaving the Black Hills area. North Dakota personnel contacted Minnesota wildlife staff when the mountain lion crossed into Minnesota just before the New Year. DNR wildlife staff made arrangements to try to locate the radio signal while performing the aerial deer census earlier this month.

The radio collar transmits two signals that researchers can use to gather information on wildlife they?re tracking, according to Jim Breyen, Northwest Regional wildlife manager. The first signal allows researchers to locate the animal; the second helps determine whether or not the animal is moving. The signal picked up by the DNR indicated that the mountain lion was moving.

Weather permitting, DNR staff will attempt to pick up the signal again as they conclude the aerial deer census sometime during the last two weeks of January. If the mountain lion is still in the Roseau River WMA, wildlife staff plans to monitor the cat?s movements weekly with a radio receiver from the ground.

The mountain lion, which is a young adult male, is part of a long-term research study being conducted by South Dakota State University. Tracking this cat?s movement has provided a unique opportunity to study the movement patterns of mountain lions, which are most commonly found in the western part of the United States and are rarely seen as far east as Minnesota.

For such an elusive animal, this one male has certainly been attracting a lot of attention on his travels through the Midwest,? said Breyen. ?It has now become a three-state research effort as we?ve tracked the cat for our wildlife colleagues in South Dakota.? The DNR receives several reports of mountain lion sightings each year, but few of these reports have been proven true over the years. Breyen reminds the public that mountain lions are a protected species in Minnesota and cannot be hunted or trapped. Although there has never been an attack of a human by a mountain lion in Minnesota, wildlife observers should keep their distance from the mountain lion and take care not to disturb the animal.