Michigan DNR examining cougar sighting posted to social media

The Detroit News

Michigan's Department of Natural Resources is trying to determine whether a photo of a cougar in the Upper Peninsula posted on social media is genuine.

A person named TJ who uses the Twitter handle @J33T1 posted Sunday night a picture of a screen shot from what appears to be a trail camera. The screen shot is dated Sept. 16 and has a 6:12 p.m. time stamp. 

John Pepin, a Department of Natural Resources spokesman, said the agency's biologists are examining the picture. He said they are trying to learn more about who took it and where it was taken. At this point, he said, there's no source for officials to contact.

In replies to the tweet, TJ said the footage was taken off Foster City Road, north of Waucedah Township in the far western portion of the Upper Peninsula.

So far this year, there have been nine cougar sightings in Michigan, all in Upper Peninsula counties, according to the agency. Dickinson and Marquette counties are tied for first place in number of sightings, each with two.

The number is down 40 percent from 15 sightings in 2020, according to the DNR's data. Delta, Luce and Mackinac counties tied for first place, each with three. 

Cougars were native to Michigan, but were wiped out in the early 1900s. The last known wild cougar legally taken in the state occurred in 1906 near Newberry, the DNR said.