Three recent trail camera photos of cougars in the Upper Peninsula have been verified by the Michigan Department of Natural Resources.
Two of the photos, both of a cougar with a radio collar, were taken in October in Menominee County — one near Cedar River and one near Menominee just north of the Wisconsin border.
The third photo was taken in northern Marquette County in November. The cougar in the Marquette County photo is not wearing a radio collar.
The DNR does not place radio collars on cougars; North Dakota and South Dakota are the nearest states where wildlife researchers have placed radio collars on cougars to track their movement. The DNR has not yet been able to determine the origin of the radio-collared cougar that is in Michigan.
In the fall of 2011, a radio-collared cougar was photographed in Ontonagon, Houghton and Keweenaw counties. Although the cougar recently photographed in Menominee County is wearing the same type of radio collar, DNR wildlife biologists are currently unable to determine whether this is the same animal or another transient that has dispersed from western states.
All three photos were taken by trail cameras located on private property and the landowners have asked to remain anonymous. DNR Wildlife Division staff were able to visit each location to confirm the authenticity of the photos.
DNR Wildlife Division staff have now verified the presence of cougars in the Upper Peninsula 20 times since 2008.
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