Green Guide

Report: Cougars killed in Michigan likely born elsewhere

Posted October 18

— State officials say genetic testing indicates two cougars killed in Michigan's Upper Peninsula probably migrated to the state from farther west.

The Department of Natural Resources says DNA analysis of tissue samples links the cougars with populations based in Wyoming, South Dakota and Nebraska.

One of the male cougars was found dead last February near Iron Mountain. The other was poached in Schoolcraft County in 2013.

Researchers with the National Genomics Center for Wildlife and Fish Conservation in Montana examined tissue from both.

DNR wildlife specialist Kevin Swanson says the findings support the agency's position that Michigan has no breeding cougar population, even though the DNR has confirmed 35 reports of their presence in the U.P. since 2008.

Patrick Rusz (Russ) of the Michigan Wildlife Conservancy has long contended that Michigan does have a breeding population. He said Tuesday the tissue analysis results didn't change his mind.


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