UNDATED (KDAL) - The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources says sightings of cougars in the state are becoming more frequent but the big cats are still rare visitors. Since 2007 there have been 14 confirmed cougar sightings with dozens of other, unconfirmed sightings. Most of the animals are solitary young males looking for new territory and are probably from a cougar population in the western Dakotas which has seen an increase in numbers. The DNR says human encounters with cougars is extremely rare and most will avoid confrontation. The recent shooting of a cougar in southwestern Minnesota has raised the awareness of cougars in the state but there is no evidence of a resident population of the animals.