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6 cougar sightings reported in Michigan so far in 2020

All six were in the Upper Peninsula and four were based on trail camera images
 This mountain lion was caught on a Michigan Department of Natural Resources game camera Oct. 1 in Gogebic County. (Credit: Michigan Department of Natural Resources)
This mountain lion was caught on a Michigan Department of Natural Resources game camera Oct. 1 in Gogebic County. (Credit: Michigan Department of Natural Resources) (WNDU)
Published: Aug. 12, 2020 at 12:54 PM EDT
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LANSING, Mich. (WJRT) - The Michigan Department of Natural Resources has confirmed six cougar sightings so far in 2020.

All six sightings came in the Upper Peninsula counties of Chippewa, Delta, Ontonagon and Schoolcraft. DNR staff made two of the reports after they found cougar tracks while conducting a winter wolf survey while trail camera images were used to confirm the other four sightings.

DNR wildlife officials believe some of the sightings may involve the same animal roaming around the woods.

Cougar sightings are very rare in Michigan. Only 55 sightings of cougars -- which are also known as pumas, panthers and mountain lions -- have been confirmed in Michigan since 2008. Click here to report a possible cougar sighting.

The animals are native to Michigan, but their population has dwindled to near zero over the past century due to a variety of factors. The DNR says there is no evidence of an active breeding population of cougars anywhere in Michigan.

“DNA analysis of two cougars poached in the U.P., for example, showed the animals likely dispersed from their established populations in South Dakota, Wyoming and Nebraska,” said Cody Norton, a large carnivore specialist with the DNR.

Cougars are considered an endangered species in Michigan, which brings legal protection against hunting and trapping them.

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