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Grizzly bears, black bears, wolves, coyotes, cougars/ mountain lions,bobcats, wolverines, lynx, foxes, fishers and martens are the suite of carnivores that originally inhabited North America after the Pleistocene extinctions. This site invites research, commentary, point/counterpoint on that suite of native animals (predator and prey) that inhabited The Americas circa 1500-at the initial point of European exploration and subsequent colonization. Landscape ecology, journal accounts of explorers and frontiersmen, genetic evaluations of museum animals, peer reviewed 20th and 21st century research on various aspects of our "Wild America" as well as subjective commentary from expert and layman alike. All of the above being revealed and discussed with the underlying goal of one day seeing our Continent rewilded.....Where big enough swaths of open space exist with connective corridors to other large forest, meadow, mountain, valley, prairie, desert and chaparral wildlands.....Thereby enabling all of our historic fauna, including man, to live in a sustainable and healthy environment. - Blogger Rick

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Friday, May 18, 2012

The 15th verified Puma sighting in Michigan's Upper Peninsua was confirmed by the Michigan Dept of Natural Resources on Saturday, May 5........Fully extirpated from the State by the turn of the 20th Century, Puma sightings have skyrocketed since 2008.........As we know, both North and South Dakota have breeding populations of the the "Ghost Cat" and young male Pumas are capable of dispersing extensive distances seeking mates and a territory of their own...........As I continually say, we need a "bold and fresh" female to also get the wonderlust and follow her male counterparts eastward to get a breeding population kickstarted in Michigan, Nebraska, Wisconsin, Kansas, Iowa, Illinois...........As Biologist John Laundre has coined them, let the "River Lions" once again take their rightful place at the top of the food chain in our midwestern States

DNR Confirms Presence of Cougar in Western UP
DNR Confirms Presence of Cougar in Western UPThis photo of a cougar was taken by Baraga County resident Fred Nault near Skanee on Saturday, May 5. The photo represents the 15th time the DNR has been able to verify the presence of a cougar in the Upper Peninsula since 2008.
The Department of Natural Resources has confirmed the presence of a cougar in Baraga County in the Upper Peninsula. A photo of the animal was taken by Baraga County resident Fred Nault near Skanee on Saturday, May 5.

DNR Wildlife Division staff were contacted by Nault and visited the property on Tuesday, May 15 to verify the location of the camera.

"This is the 15th time we have verified the presence of a cougar in the Upper Peninsula since our first confirmation in 2008," said DNR wildlife biologist Adam Bump, who is a member of the Department’s specially-trained cougar team. "This is the first confirmation in 2012, and the first verified photo of a cougar taken in person and not by a remote camera."

The cougar was spotted crossing a road near Skanee by Nault, who had a camera on him and was able to take a photo before the animal fled into the woods.A handful of cougar photos and tracks were also verified by the DNR in the fall and winter of 2011. Tracks and photos were confirmed in Ontonagon and Baraga counties, a photo was verified in Houghton County, and tracks were confirmed in Keweenaw County.

The cougar confirmed in Ontonagon, Houghton and Keweenaw counties had a radio-collar, while the cougar verified in Baraga County did not have a collar. The timing and locations of the photos and tracks suggests there were at least two cougars in the western Upper Peninsula in December 2011.

The DNR has now verified eight separate sets of cougar tracks and seven separate photos in the Upper Peninsula since 2008. The last confirmed wild cougar in Michigan prior to 2008 was an animal killed near Newberry in 1906.

Cougars, also known as mountain lions, were native to Michigan, but disappeared from the state around the turn of the last century. Established cougar populations are found as close to Michigan as North and South Dakota, and transient cougars dispersing from these areas have been known to travel hundreds of miles in search of new territory.

Although cougar sightings are regularly reported, verification is often difficult, due in part to a lack of physical evidence. Characteristic evidence of cougars include tracks - which are about three inches long by three and a half inches wide and typically show no claw marks - and suspicious kill sites, such as deer carcasses that are largely intact and buried with sticks and debris.

Reports of cougar tracks and other evidence should be made to a local DNR office or by submitting the sighting on the DNR’s online reporting form at If an emergency situation exists, call the department's 24-hour Report All Poaching line at 800-292-7800 . Preserving evidence such as tracks, scat and cached kills greatly improves the chances that a reported sighting may be verified by DNR wildlife staff.

Wildlife biologists on the DNR’s cougar team investigate evidence that is reported or submitted, and may visit sites to verify the location and collect additional information. The team then evaluates the collected information and decides whether the presence of cougars can be confirmed.
Cougars are classified as an endangered species in Michigan. It is unlawful to kill, harass or otherwise harm a cougar except in the immediate defense of human life. To learn more about cougars and how to identify their tracks, go

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