WATCH: ‘Super Clear’ Video Shows Rare Glimpse of Cougar in the Midwest

by Sean Griffin
Wally Skalij / Contributor

Footage posted to YouTube shows a large cat roaming around northern Minnesota, and the “super clear” footage displays to researchers that the cat is unmistakably a cougar.

The mountain lion was seen on October 20 via trail camera. Voyageurs Wolf Project placed the camera in the southern part of the Greater Voyageurs Ecosystem, according to a Nov. 3 news release.

The University of Minnesota research project has captured many videos of wolves and other wildlife on this camera. However, this was the first time its researchers recorded a wild cougar in the ecosystem.

“And not only did we document a cougar but got very nice clear footage of the animal,” project lead Thomas Gable said in a statement. The Greater Voyageurs Ecosystem includes Voyageurs National Park and adjacent areas.

Video of the huge animal can be seen below.

Cougars, which are also known as mountain lions, pumas, and even catamounts, are “rarely seen but occasionally do appear” throughout the state, according to the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources.

Cougars remain very reclusive and mostly avoid people. However, fatal attacks on humans do occur on rare occasions. Attacks on humans increased in North America as more people entered their habitats and built farms.

Wildlife Officials Warn About Cougar Sightings

Since 2004, state wildlife officials have verified 59 wild cougar observations. The data was last updated on March 14, and includes camera photos, confirmed tracks, dead animals and other forms of verification.

“While evidence might suggest the animal’s prevalence is increasing, the number of verified cougar observations indicate that cougar occurrence in Minnesota is a result of transient animals from the Western Dakotas,” officials said.

Young males normally travel long distances from their breeding populations, particularly when their populations reach capacity. However, they say there isn’t evidence of breeding population in Minnesota, according to the state department. “It is difficult to predict whether or when enough dispersing animals – both males and females – might settle in Minnesota and establish a small population,” officials said.

Mountain lions in Minnesota receive protection under state law. This means that only public safety officials are legally allowed to kill a cougar that’s an “imminent threat to humans.” It is illegal to kill a cougar, even to protect pets and livestock.

If you see a mountain lion, you should make yourself appear bigger by holding your arms up and waving them around. Authorities also say you should talk loudly, throw rocks or sticks and continue to face it directly.

“If actually attacked, hit the animal in the face and head with anything handy,” officials said.

They also warn a few things to not do in this situation. “Don’t run, crouch or lay down. Try and stay above the animal and give the animal a clear escape route.”

Any cougar sightings should be reported to a local area wildlife office or conservation officer.