DNR says cougar sightings difficult to confirm

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MARQUETTE, Mich. (WLUC) - The Michigan Department of Natural Resources said a recent cougar seen downstate was the first confirmed sighting in the Lower Peninsula, but people have reported seeing cougars for years.

DNR Wildlife Management Specialist Kevin Swanson says the DNR isn’t trying to find anything. The problem, he said, is the difficulty in confirming the sightings.

People send in dozens of photos a week of possible cougar sightings, but most are bobcats or domestic cats, or can’t be verified. Even so, the DNR has confirmed 36 sightings in the Upper Peninsula since 2000.

“You would think with all the trail cameras that are in the woods these days--there's a lot of deer hunters setting those up now and keep them out all summer--you'd think as one comes through the Upper Peninsula, because they travel so far and wide, that we would get a photo of one. That seems to happen a few times every year,” Swanson said.

Swanson said currently, there’s no way to know how many cougars are in Michigan, or whether they live here or are just traveling through.

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