The Michigan DNR confirmed there are cougars in the Lower Peninsula of Michigan today, releasing a photograph of the large cat strolling through a Clinton County neighborhood. This is not the first sighting of cougars in the Lower Peninsula, but it is the first time the DNR admitted it.
The Michigan DNR to date confirmed 35 sightings of cougars in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. The DNR insist the animals are just visitors and there are no breeding cougars anywhere in Michigan. All reports of cougars in the Lower Peninsula until today were denied, including a report near Howell last year, where a home owner shot a video of the cat. The DNR told the 28 year old woman the animal in the video was a house pet.
Last year Up North Progressive spoke with an orchard grower near Grand Traverse County who said they put a trail camera on the property when workers saw a large cat walking around near the creek that runs past the orchard. The camera caught a picture of what appeared to be a cougar with cubs. According to the orchard grower, the DNR admitted it was a cougar ‘off the record’. Other sightings in the Traverse City region, as well as sightings around the Lower Peninsula have all been denied until now.
The DNR offers these tips if you see a cougar:
- Face the animal and do not act submissive.
- Stand tall, wave your arms and talk in a loud voice.
- Never run from a cougar or other large carnivore.
- If children are present, pick them up so they cannot run.
- Do not crouch and get on all fours.
- If attacked, fight back with whatever is available.
- DO NOT play dead.
- Report the encounter to local authorities and the DNR as soon as possible.
So far, the DNR insists cougars do not live in Michigan. They’re only visiting and not breeding anywhere in the state. It seems the DNR believes cougars prefer to go elsewhere to raise their young, despite the state obviously having enough food for them to visit. Another thing the orchard owner claimed the DNR told them ‘off the record’ – the cougars in the Lower Peninsula of Michigan were secretly introduced here by the DNR. Thank goodness that can’t possibly be true, since it’s official that the cougars in Michigan are tourists, not residents.
The DNR has a link to a page on their website for reporting a cougar sighting. For more information, contact Kevin Swanson at 906-458-1889.