Mountain lion in BE?
Is there really a mountain lion roaming around the area just south of Blue Earth?
Yes, says Faribault County Sheriff Mike Gormley.
“We want to alert the citizens of Blue Earth to the fact that it appears a mountain lion has been spotted just south of Putnam Park, along the Blue Earth River,” he told the Faribault County Register last week Wednesday.
What appears to be a mountain lion (also known as a cougar) is visible in two photos taken by Blue Earth resident Steve Smith on a trail camera he had mounted along the river, less than a mile to the south of Putnam Park.
“The pictures are a little grainy and only part of the animal is visible,” Sheriff Gormley says. “But it definitely looks like a mountain lion it is for sure a big cat of some kind.”
The photos were taken by the trail cam on Aug. 22, at 3:30 in the morning. Mountain lions are nocturnal.
“We are contacting the DNR (Department of Natural Resources) just so they know about it,” Gormley says. “But we also want the residents to be aware of the animal being spotted so close to the city.”
According to the DNR, they have verified that there have been 14 cougars spotted in southern Minnesota since 2007. Most were spotted by trail cams, but some were identified by tracks and a few were killed or were found dead. Most are believed to have traveled to Minnesota from western North and South Dakota.
There have been cougar sightings near Austin in 2014, near Worthington in 2015, one in northwestern Iowa/southern Minnesota in 2017, among others.
There have been reports of one seen near Jackson recently as well.
Mountain lions are protected in Minnesota, although the DNR says no evidence exists of a viable breeding population in the state.