Study: Cougars making a comeback

By KBJR News 1

Study: Cougars making a comeback

June 14, 2012 Updated Jun 14, 2012 at 1:15 PM CDT

Minnepolis (Northland's NewsCenter) -- New research conducted by a group of University of Minnesota scientists, show that American mountain lions, or cougars, are re-emerging in areas of the United States.

The study raises new questions such as how humans can live alongside the cougars.

"The cougar population declined dramatically from 1900, due to both hunting, and a lack of prey, leaving the remaining population isolated to the American west," said Michelle LaRue, a Ph.D. student at the University of Minnesota. "Here we represent the hard evidence that the western population has spread, with cougar populations re-establishing across the Midwest."

The research includes confirmed sightings, carcasses, tracks, photos, video, DNA evidence and cases of attacks on livestock.

Three main cougar populations exist in the Midwest, which are centered around the Black Hills in South Dakota.

One male cougar from the Black Hills was found to have traveled 2,900 kilometers through Minnesota, Wisconsin and New York, before ending up in Connecticut.

"While the distance the Connecticut cougar traveled was rare, we found that cougars are roaming long distances and are moving back into portions of their historical range across the Midwest," said LaRue.