Reported mountain lion sighting near Alvarado has yet to be confirmed, DNR conservation officer says
Encountering a mountain lion isn’t something one would expect in Alvarado or anywhere else in the Red River Valley, but it certainly wouldn’t be unprecedented.
ALVARADO, Minn. – Reports of a mountain lion sighting have tongues wagging here, but so far nothing has been confirmed, a Department of Natural Resources conservation officer says.
DNR conservation officer Jeremy Woinarowicz, whose work area includes Alvarado, reported in Monday’s weekly update from the DNR’s enforcement division that he’s fielded numerous calls in recent days about a big cat supposedly prowling the prairies near Alvarado.
As of Monday night, none of those reports had been confirmed, Woinarowicz said.
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“I was in Alvarado (Monday), and someone told me they just saw the cougar – that instance was an orange tabby feral cat,” Woinarowicz said Monday night in an email. “I saw it and it was the right color and such but definitely not a cougar.
“I know multiple folks with trail cameras out right now, but no one can show me a confirmed photo.”
Encountering a mountain lion isn’t something one would expect in Alvarado or anywhere else in the Red River Valley, but it certainly wouldn’t be unprecedented. In March 2020, for example, authorities in West Fargo shot and killed a treed mountain lion that was deemed potentially dangerous near a local park.
The Badlands of western North Dakota have a small, but stable population of mountain lions, and the cats – usually young males – occasionally stray in search of new territory, Stephanie Tucker, furbearer biologist for the North Dakota Game and Fish Department in Bismarck, said in a May 2020 Herald interview .
Mountain lions in the past decade or so have been confirmed everywhere from Devils Lake to Bemidji. Genetic testing of a mountain lion killed by a vehicle in September 2009 near Bemidji found the cat to be genetically similar to western North Dakota mountain lions.
In December 2017, a hunter legally shot and killed a mountain lion northwest of Hillsboro, N.D. North Dakota has offered a mountain lion season since 2005.
Sightings, whether confirmed or hearsay, always get people talking, and the report near Alvarado is no exception. Woinarowicz, the DNR conservation officer, said he’d keep the Herald updated on the reported sightings.