Animal control officer describes paw prints found in Edina park

He searched the park after a woman reported seeing a cougar.
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We told you on Saturday that Edina police believed a reported cougar sighting on Thursday at a popular park was actually a bobcat, and now we've got more information thanks to Edina Police Department Animal Control Officer, Tim Hunter. 

Hunter spoke to the woman who reported seeing a cougar while on a walk with her dog at Arden Park, which is near 50th and France in Edina. The woman said the animal, which she thought was a cougar, was stalking them. 

Hunter searched the park for signs of the wild cat, looking for feces, hair snags on branches and other indicators but was only able to spot some tracks in the mud.

"I went down to check the park for whatever sign on I could," Hunter told BMTN. "I didn't see any sign that positively identified that a cougar could be in the area."

What he did find was a "cluster of footprints in the mud down the creek," which he believes were those of a feline. More specifically, they were probably bobcat tracks. 

"Would've been about the size of a bobcat," he said. "You're looking at maybe a 20-25 pound bobcat, give or take. Some of them go a little bit bigger."

Female cougars weigh 64-140 pounds while male cougars can tip the scales from 120-220 pounds, so the tracks in Arden Park would indicate a much smaller animal. 

Hunter sent the photos to DNR officers, who agreed that they were probably dealing with a bobcat.

Hunter said he's received about 3-4 reports of bobcats in Edina in his 15 years on the job, but never a cougar. And while he's skeptical that a cougar is roaming about the park, he says Edina PD will have a heightened awareness in case more reports come in. 

That said, Hunter is confident that Arden Park is no less safe than it was two weeks ago.

"Worst case scenario, if it were a cougar and the cougar were presenting any sort of safety issue, we have permission to put it down if we need to," Hunter said. 

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