Authorities in Dodge County are advising people to be on the lookout for a cougar following a local sighting this weekend.
On Saturday, the local sheriff's office shared a photo of the cat on Facebook, saying it had been spotted in the city of Dodge Center:
A resident saw the animal "coming in and out of the tree line near their property," telling authorities it knew they were watching it, and that it didn't seem scared of them or "interested in approaching them either."
Deputies responded and were able to take the above picture of the cougar. The cougar is estimated to be one to two years old.
According to the sheriff, the DNR believes it is likely not a public safety threat, though locals are being warned to "be careful with pets and young children being left unattended outside."
Anyone who spots the cat is advised not to approach it, and to take a photograph if it's safe to do so. Sightings should be reported to the Dodge County sheriff at 507-635-6200.
Big cat sightings are reported from time to time in Minnesota, but they often turn out to be coyotes or other animals. Cougars — also known as mountain lions, pumas and panthers — are thought to be somewhat rare in Minnesota, with the DNR saying there's no evidence the state has a has a self-sustaining, breeding population.
That said, the agency has a guide in case you ever find yourself face to face with one of the animals. You can find it right here.