GOGEBIC COUNTY, Mich. - The Michigan Department of Natural Resources confirmed reports of a cougar sighting in the Upper Peninsula.
Images of the cougar were captured on a resident's trail camera in Gogebic County in July and became Michigan's 39th confirmed cougar sighting since 2008, the department said in a Facebook post.
Last year, a cougar was spotted in a nearby location during a deer movement study. There have been several cougar sightings in the UP, but there is still no conclusive evidence of a breeding population.
The DNR said many of the cougars spotted were likely transient males looking to expand their territory.
According to the DNR, cougars were originally native to Michigan but were wiped out around the early 20th Century. The last known wild cougar legally taken in the state occurred in 1906 near Newberry.
One illegal harvest has been reported since that time. The sighting is not unique to Michigan but has been occurring in other Midwestern and eastern states as young males disperse from core range in the western United States.
If you encounter a cougar, the DNR says you should do the following:
- Face the animal and do not act submissive. Stand tall, wave your arms, and talk in a loud voice.
- Never run from a cougar or other large carnivore. If children are present, pick them up so they cannot run.
- If attacked, fight back with whatever is available. DO NOT play dead.
- Report the encounter to local authorities and the DNR as soon as possible.
Recently in Kent County, there have been reports of a young black bear near 4 Mile Road and Alpine Avenue. The bear has not been found and is currently being looked for by law enforcement.
RELATED: Bear sighting in Kent County
For more information on cougars in Michigan, click here.
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