Music and NPR News for Central and Northern Michigan
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
Available On Air Stations

Cougar appears in lower peninsula for first time since the 1900’s

Mike Seamons

The DNR has confirmed a cougar sighting in the lower peninsula for the first time in over one hundred years.

Kevin Swanson is a wildlife management specialist with the Michigan Department of Natural Resources. He said the animal was spotted in Clinton County.

“The gentlemen was driving down the road early in the morning and the cat approached the road and when he saw the headlights approaching the cat turned around and stopped just for a moment just by the mailbox. Just enough time for the individual to get a picture with his cell phone camera.”

Swanson said cougars frequent the Upper Peninsula.

“36 times now we’ve confirmed cats in the UP since 2008. That doesn’t mean it’s 36 different cats but those are likely to be transients from those western states like Wyoming, Northwest Nebraska, and the Black Hills of South Dakota.”

Swanson said the state has no native breeding cougar population.

“The cats that we’ve confirmed in Michigan are these transients that are coming from these western states. What they do is they disperse from their core populations looking for new territory and a mate for themselves. They’re just looking for a new home. They can go hundreds of thousands of miles.”

Swanson said they do not know where the cougar originated from.