Mountain lion found dead in southwest suburb, apparently hit by car

A mountain lion roaming the Minnesota River bottoms near Highway 101 in Savage was found dead early Tuesday morning. 

“One of our officers found it, laying on the roadway, about 1 o’clock in the morning,” reports Savage police captain Bruce Simon. “Whoever hit it apparently decided not to stick around.”

The mountain lion had been spotted in the area, and a Facebook user even posted a purported photo of the animal near Preserve Trail and Stagecoach Road recently in a Shakopee community group. 

Simon says sightings are rare, but not unheard of. He said the animal was found dead just south of the Bloomington Ferry Bridge, a largely undeveloped river bottom that's near the Minnesota Valley National Wildlife Refuge. 

Simon says the animal carcass, apparently an adult female, was removed by the state Department of Natural Resources. 

The DNR tracks cougar sightings across the state and its data shows more than 50 of them in the last 18 years, including more than a dozen in 2020. The DNR says sightings appear to be increasing. The animals are thought to be moving in from the western Dakotas. Wildlife officials do not believe Minnesota has a breeding population of the animals. 

Mountain lions, also known as cougars, are most often seen along rivers and streams in Minnesota, ranging from along the Canadian border to the Iowa state line.

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