A new study by a University of Minnesota doctoral student has confirmed what biologists, hunters and trail cameras have documented for several years: Mountain lions, or cougars, are increasingly spending time in Minnesota and Wisconsin, the Pioneer Press reports.
One investigator in a long-running project to track the eastward movement of cougars told the the Star Tribune that cougars are trying to "recolonize the region." He adds, "They haven't yet." The Star Tribune also has video of a cougar caught on camera at night.
The study, which appears in The Journal of Wildlife Management, reports that there were 178 cougar confirmations in the Midwest and as far south as Texas between 1990 and 2008.
In the study, researchers used carcasses, cougar DNA from scat and hair samples, animal tracks, photos, video and instances of attacks on livestock across 14 states and Canadian provinces to tally up the number of cougar appearances east of the Rocky Mountains, the Associated Press reports.