Blue Earth on alert for cougar

BLUE EARTH — A mountain lion was recently spotted southwest of Putnam Park in the River Road area of Blue Earth.

According to Chief Deputy Scott Adams of the Faribault County Sheriff’s Office, a trail camera captured footage of a mountain lion, also known as a cougar, on Aug. 22. The spotting was then reported on Sept. 19 after the landowner reviewed the footage.

The Faribault County Sheriff’s Department will put up multiple cameras next week to monitor the area where the mountain lion was spotted, as well as neighboring areas.

Adams said that by now it is possible the animal has moved out of the area, but it is important to practice due diligence to keep the community safe.

In a Facebook post, the Blue Earth Police Department warned not to approach the mountain lion if spotted, as well as to avoid hiking or jogging in wooded areas during dawn, dusk or at night. They also recommend keeping pets and pet food inside at night.

According to National Geographic:

Cougars like to prey on deer, though they also eat smaller animals such as coyotes, porcupines and raccoons.

Cougars once roamed nearly all of the United States. They were prized by hunters and despised by farmers and ranchers. By the early 20th century, cougars were eliminated from nearly all of their range in the Midwest.

Today, whitetail deer populations have rebounded over much of the cougar’s former range. Some biologists believe these cats could eventually recolonize much of their Midwest and Eastern range.

Cougars are solitary and shy animals, seldom seen by humans. While they do occasionally attack people — usually children or solitary adults — statistics show that, on average, there are only four attacks and one human fatality each year in all of the U.S. and Canada.