Cougar sighted in lower Mich.

State con­firms en­dan­gered species in Clin­ton County

The Detroit News - - Front Page - BY JONATHAN OOSTING Detroit News Lans­ing Bureau

Lans­ing — State wildlife of­fi­cials on Thurs­day con­firmed the pres­ence of a cougar in Clin­ton County, the first sight­ing of its kind ver­i­fied in Michi­gan’s Lower Penin­sula.

An area res­i­dent pho­tographed the moun­tain lion in Bath Town­ship on June 21, ac­cord­ing to the Michi­gan De­part­ment of Nat­u­ral Re­sources. The Haslett man took a photo from his car af­ter spot­ting it in his head­lights as it at­tempted to cross a road near the Rose Lake State Wildlife Area.

Cougars are an en­dan­gered species and they are banned from be­ing hunted in Michi­gan.

The DNR launched a field in­ves­ti­ga­tion af­ter re­ceiv­ing the pic­ture Mon­day. Bi­ol­o­gists and mem­bers of the de­part­ment’s Cougar Team vis­ited the site and con­firmed the an­i­mal in the photo was a cougar.

“Even with this ver­i­fi­ca­tion, ques­tions re­main, es­pe­cially re­gard­ing the ori­gins of the an­i­mal,” Kevin Swan­son, DNR wildlife spe­cial­ist and mem­ber of the agency’s Cougar Team, said in a re­lease.

“There is no way for us to know if this an­i­mal is a dis­pers­ing tran­sient from a western state, like cougars that have been ge­net­i­cally tested from the Up­per Penin­sula, or if this cat was re­leased lo­cally.”

The de­part­ment is en­cour­ag­ing res­i­dents to sub­mit pic­tures of pos­si­ble sight­ings for ver­i­fi­ca­tion and said landown­ers near Clin­ton County may want to place trail cams on their prop­er­ties. Bath Town­ship is north of Lans­ing and East Lans­ing.

There have been prior sight­ings of cougars in the Lower Penin­sula, but the DNR wasn’t able to ver­ify them.

In 2012, a for­mer deputy sher­iff and an­other res­i­dent re­ported see­ing a moun­tain lion in the Mil­ford/Kens­ing­ton Park area in Oakland County. Bob­cats are usu­ally found in ar­eas north of Oakland County, and the DNR said peo­ple of­ten mis­take bob­cats for cougars.

But Brenda Weed, a for­mer Pima County, Ari­zona, deputy sher­iff, said she en­coun­tered a cougar five times.

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