Minnesota Mystery Cat Captured

Sometimes cryptids are captured.

Captured Cougar

Credit for video capture (no pun intended) from KSTP-TV.

The recent sightings of a mystery cat in a Willmar, Minnesota neighborhood have resulted in the capture of a mountain lion, yesterday, on the first of February 2006. Surprise, surprise. It is a real animal. It was not a phantom or a figment of people’s imagination.

The female mountain lion, puma, cougar, or whatever American moniker you want to use, officials say, weighs about 80 pounds and is believed to be 12 to 18 months old.

But more importantly, the government line is reflected in the day after media accounts. As television station KSTP reported: "It isn’t known if the animal is a pet or if it roamed into Minnesota from another state. The DNR says the nearest wild cougar population is in the Black Hills of South Dakota."

Yeah, right.

Loren Coleman – has written 5491 posts on this site.
Loren Coleman is one of the world’s leading cryptozoologists, some say “the” leading. Certainly, he is acknowledged as the current living American researcher and writer who has most popularized cryptozoology in the late 20th and early 21st centuries. Starting his fieldwork and investigations in 1960, after traveling and trekking extensively in pursuit of cryptozoological mysteries, Coleman began writing to share his experiences in 1969. An honorary member of Ivan T. Sanderson’s Society for the Investigation of the Unexplained in the 1970s, Coleman has been bestowed with similar honorary memberships of the North Idaho College Cryptozoology Club in 1983, and in subsequent years, that of the British Columbia Scientific Cryptozoology Club, CryptoSafari International, and other international organizations. He was also a Life Member and Benefactor of the International Society of Cryptozoology (now-defunct). Loren Coleman’s daily blog, as a member of the Cryptomundo Team, served as an ongoing avenue of communication for the ever-growing body of cryptozoo news from 2005 through 2013.

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  1. My mother-in-law lives in Gary, South Dakota. Probably 100-150 miles away from Willmar as the crow flies.

    She has on numerous occasions, over the years, seen big cats like this one. She’s an intelligent and savvy person, I have no reason to doubt her word.

    Officially, they don’t live around here as the article mentions. Ask the farmers & ranchers and you’ll hear another story.

    They’re rare, but they do exist.

    …and yes, people do keep big cats. Not too bright in my mind but that happens too. However, I see no reason to believe that this has to be a “domesticated” cat.

  2. yep that is a yearling. i would say it is more near 12 months than the 18. it is too thin. it may have some med issue as it shouldn’t be that thin.at least it looked thin on TV yesterday. i gotta love the “it must be a lost pet or migrated cause they aren’t round here” crap they spew when they are proved wrong.

  3. When it was mentioned I didn’t even realize that it was considered a cryptid…just rare.

    Go figure.

  4. There sure seems to be a lot of escaped pet cougars these days. I didn’t realize that cougars were such common pets. At what point do all these loose pets become a &*%$@#! population?

  5. “Surprise, surprise. It is a real animal. It was not a phantom or a figment of people’s imagination.”

    And it also wasn’t a mystery cat: it was a cougar that people were unable to identify, because they likely were not knowledgable about cougars or didn’t get a good look. However, someone was able to video tape it, in focus, from a reasonable distance to be able to identify it.

  6. I live in Fargo, ND and just saw the video of it on the local news. My guess it is a pet. It apparently approached the doors of houses several times “wanting to get in”. There also was someone in the Willmar, MN area that was looking to get rid of their pet mountain lion recently according to the report.

    Now with that said – North Dakota just had an experimental hunting season on mountain lions for up to 5 kills which was recently reached.

    A landowner around New Rockford, North Dakota shot at and wounded a mountain lion recently – Link to report.

    Also I remember about 1-2 years ago that a sheriff or highway patrol caught a cougar on his windshield cam outside of Moorhead, MN a couple years back which was shown on the local news. Moorhead and Fargo border each other in case you are wondering. There also was an apparent horse attack a couple years back near Moorhead. Link to report.

    I’ve heard other reports by people south of Fargo including one where a wild mountain lion was investigating a caged-in pet mountain lion.

  7. Aren’t pumas very good at sneaking around? I had always heard that they were, so I was just wondering why people are so #*&%!^# surprised when they find a population they don’t expect.

  8. Living in northern Wisconsin, there a great many stories and rumors of cougars in both Wisconsin and the UP. I have even heard a story or two of a black panther. A few years ago, there was a photo of a mountain lion in the local newspaper that had been taken just a mile down the road from my house. Word is, the DNR can only speak of the cougars within the department. If they were to officially admit that there are any of the big cats in the state, then they would have to put the cougar on the state’s list of endagered species and implement a management plan to insure its survival that would cost big monies.

  9. I live a bit north of Willmar, in Becida, MN. Since early fall of 2005 there have been a handful of cougar sightings here. Including once instance where one a cougar attacked a horse.

    I’ve been told that cougars can have a hunting range of up to 250 miles. I don’t know if this is true or not, but it would explain cougar sightings in this area.

    And speaking of animals that should not be here, last spring I saw some cardials here in Becida. Maybe this all has something to do with global warming?

  10. From Todays’s Minneapolis Star Tribune:

    Willmar cougar heading to Tennessee

    WILLMAR, Minn. — The cougar that was captured in Willmar earlier this week will be spending the rest of its days at a big cat facility in Tennessee.
    Tammy Quist of the Wildcat Sanctuary in Cedar picked up the cat from a veterinary clinic in Willmar just before noon Thursday. She was taking it to Chicago, where a representative from Tiger Haven of Kingston, Tenn., was to pick up the cat for the rest of the journey to its new home.

    Quist said her own facility in Isanti County is full, so they contacted Tiger Haven, which agreed to take the cougar.

    It’s still a mystery how the cougar ended up in a Willmar neighborhood across from an elementary school, Quist said, but she’s pretty sure the cougar used to be someone’s pet.

    Quist said it looked as if the cougar still had its summer coat, instead of its winter coat, meaning it was likely living indoors. The cougar is in good health though, she said, and appears to be well taken care of.

    “We all agree it was someone’s pet,” she said. “It hasn’t been aggressive or shown signs of distress.”

    Still, no one has come forward to claim the cougar.

    “The vets are hoping that somebody does come forward,” Quist said. “I’m assuming she got out accidentally and the person is afraid to come forward.”

  11. This is another example of a released or escaped cougar retreating to humans rather than reverting to a wild existance. Invaribly, when they are reported missing, they turn up at someone’s residence within a few days.
    In other cases, they aren’t reported, yet the cat is killed or captured.

    The theory of the U.K. big cat is that following the Dangerous Wild Animals Act in 1976, these animals were released into the countryside, eventually forming breeding populations. The question is, why did the realeased cats in Britain remain at large and undetected while all the reported escapes in the U.S. are eventually recovered or accounted for.

  12. “If they were to officially admit that there are any of the big cats in the state, then they would have to put the cougar on the state’s list of endagered species and implement a management plan to insure its survival that would cost big monies.”

    The same thing goes here in Southeast Missouri. If you ask a Ranger about the mountain lion you just saw he’ll swear to your face that there are none here and you are mistaken or lieing. I know this cause it happened to me! I was hiking and came litterally face to face with a female. I was on a nice trail that went around a corner along a cliff in Mingo Wildlife Refuge. When I came around the corner there she was laying on a rock ledge right at my shoulder level. We were looking each other right in the eye! I just backed up around the corner and yelled and she bolted. I watched her run off and got a really good look at her. After I got back to the main area I told a ranger about my sighting. He swore up and down that I was mistaken and that it had to be a Bobcat. Well first off Bobcats have a very small tail. This one didn’t. second it was bigger, was the wrong color for a bobcat, wrong type of coat, wrong shaped ears, and had a long tail. I used to work at the St. Louis Zoo so I’m pretty sure I know what a bloody mountain lion looks like! To tell the truth I got MAD! I hate for someone to lie to my face then tell me I’m mistaken or lieing and that’s just what he did! I had a second sighting about 2 years ago. Again I was hiking (at a different state park) and came up on a male drinking from a stream. Beautiful animal! He just walked off ignoring me. He knew he was the big guy in town! LOL After that sighting I talked to the guy that ran the camp ground on the park. He told me he’d seen the same cat several times and that the rangers that came to the park didn’t want to hear anything about it! So I’m guessing they just don’t want to add them to the list of endangered animals.

  13. While camping during late spring ’87 on the Ocmulgee River in southeast Georgia, we spotted TWO panthers / cougars pacing (or stalking) us on the other side of the river from our campsite on a large river sand-bed. We were located just north of Lumber City, about 1 1/2 miles downriver. It was very rare to see two at one time, as I’d never seen even one. I have heard of numerous stories of black panthers being spotted in Treutlen and Telfair counties, but I actually saw these two animals with my own eyes, and have my father, brother, and a few others as witnesses. But, these cats weren’t black, but rather the typical tan / grayish color.

    Supposedly the DNR says that there are no big cats around, but the old-timers in that area call them “river cats”. Just the other day I saw a large cat cross a highway just north of Baxley, Georgia about 4 miles from the Altamaha River, which is fed by the Ocmulgee and Oconee Rivers. It may have been a bobcat, as it was close to sundown, but if so it was the largest bobcat I’ve ever seen. I’d guess it would have weighed in excess of 35-40 pounds.

  14. Adult male bobcats will often exceed forty pounds. In fact, the largest specimens have reached upwards of sixty.

    Ben Willis