A recent photo taken of a cougar on July 18th in the Upper Peninsula was confirmed by DNR official Friday.
The landowner who discovered the photograph on a trail camera met with DNR Wildlife Division staff to confirm the location where the photo was taken.
The photo is the 17th time the DNR has been able to verify the presence of cougars in the Upper Peninsula since 2008, coming only a month and a half after a previously confirmed photo from southern Marquette County.
"The growing body of evidence continues to indicate the presence of an unknown number of adult cougars in the Upper Peninsula,” said DNR wildlife biologist Adam Bump, one of four DNR biologists specially trained to investigate cougar reports. “In the five years since we confirmed our first cougar report we have yet to receive any evidence of breeding activity, as all images and other physical evidence have been from adult cats."
To date, the DNR has confirmed eight separate sets of tracks, eight photos and one trail camera video from nine Upper Peninsula counties: Delta, Marquette, Schoolcraft, Mackinac, Chippewa, Ontonagon, Houghton, Keweenaw and Baraga.
"The increase in verified cougar sightings in recent years could be attributed to several factors, although the two most significant are probably the presence of more transient individual cougars moving east from established Western populations, and the growing number of trail cameras being used in the woods, making it easier to capture clear images of elusive cougars,” Bump said. “We appreciate how cooperative the public has been in sending their reports and photos to the DNR for review. This cooperation allows us to effectively monitor cougars in the state."
Cougars, also known as mountain lions, were native to Michigan, but disappeared from the state in the early 1900s.
The last confirmed wild cougar in Michigan prior to 2008 was an animal killed near Newberry in 1906.
Cougars are classified as an endangered species in Michigan.
It is unlawful to kill, harass or otherwise harm a cougar except in the immediate defense of human safety.
To learn more about cougars and how to identify their tracks click HERE.
Report All Poaching at 800-292-7800.