MINNEAPOLIS (WJON News) -- The Minnesota State Patrol says a cougar was struck and killed by a vehicle early Wednesday morning in Minneapolis.

The incident happened in the westbound lanes of Interstate 394 at Theodore Wirth Parkway.

The cougar was killed on impact.

The Minnesota State Patrol turned possession of the animal over to the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources which is investigating.

The driver is okay.

The cat was marked and the DNR confirmed with the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission that this was a wild cougar tagged in northwest Nebraska. The cougar was a two-year-old male.

A cougar had been spotted in a nearby neighborhood in Minneapolis before being struck and killed.

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According to the DNR website, the cougar – sometimes referred to as a mountain lion or puma – was found throughout most of Minnesota prior to European settlement, though never in large numbers. Today, they are rarely seen but occasionally do appear.

Any cougars that do make their way into Minnesota now usually come from the Western Dakotas.

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