(WXYZ) — The Michigan Department of Natural Resources have confirmed another cougar sighting in the Upper Peninsula, the second sighting confirmed in the U.P. in as many months.
The sighting is the 40th confirmed report of a cougar in the state since 2008, and it came from a trail camera set up on public land in Delta County, which is in the central-lower part of the Upper Peninsula.
According to the DNR, the photo was taken at 8:55 p.m. on Saturday, Aug. 17. The image shows a cougar heading away from the camera and into a stand of trees.
DNR Large Carnivore Specialist Cody Norton visited the area with help from the cougar team and substantiated the report.
This area is about 170 miles from where a cougar trail camera image was snapped on July 7 in Gogebic County and verified by the DNR earlier this month.
In that one, a private landowner took a picture of the cougar in the daylight hours
Since 2008, the DNR has now confirmed 40 cougar reports, with all but one of those occurring in the Upper Peninsula. The DNR said those reports may be sightings of the same cougar, not all 40 separate cougars.
Cougars are an endangered species in Michigan and protected by law, and there is no conclusive evidence of a Michigan breeding population of mountain lions.
According to the DNR, previous genetic testing samples from two cougars poached in the U.P. showed they likely came from a population found in South Dakota, Wyoming and northwest Nebraska. It matched a hypothesis from DNR biologists that mountain lions in the area were males looking to establish territories.
According to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, cougars were once the most widely distributed land animal in the Western Hemisphere but have been eliminated from about two-thirds of their historic range.
To learn more about cougars in Michigan, visit Michigan.gov/Cougars.