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Cougars in Minnesota? Research predicts future habitat for big cats

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Fergus Falls cougar
The Department of Natural Resources verified this trail camera photograph of a cougar, taken in the fall of 2011 near Fergus Falls, Minn. While there have been sightings like this one of cougars in Minnesota, there are currently no breeding pairs established in the state.
Courtesy of Tony Rondeau

Cougars go by many names: Mountain lions, panthers, and pumas, to name a few. 

They are not currently established in Minnesota, but new research studied whether they might be one day.

While there have been sightings of cougars in Minnesota, those were animals passing through. There are no established breeding pairs in Minnesota. 

University of Minnesota researcher Michelle LaRue has been working to model how cougars might expand their range across the Midwest.

She spoke about that research with MPR's Tom Weber. She also discussed similar work to study penguins in Antarctica.