Cougar sighted in lower Mich.
State confirms endangered species in Clinton County
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.