IRONWOOD, MI-- The Department of Natural Resources has confirmed the 39th cougar sighting in the state since 2008.
A mountain lion was caught on a landowner’s trail camera July 7 northwest of Ironwood in Gogebic County. A DNR wildlife biologist visited the location Thursday. The image was reviewed and verified by the DNR’s cougar team, composed of wildlife biologists.
The DNR has now confirmed 39 cougar reports in the past 11 years. All but one were in the Upper Peninsula. Officials say reports may include multiple sightings of the same animal.
They say there is no conclusive evidence of a breeding population of cougars in Michigan.
Previous genetic testing on tissue samples from two cougars poached in the U.P. showed the two animals likely came from a population found generally in South Dakota, Wyoming and northwest Nebraska.
This research matched a hypothesis held by DNR wildlife biologists that mountain lions documented in this region were males looking to establish territories, dispersing from a population west of Michigan, east of the Rocky Mountains.