Cougar confirmed in northern Mich.

May 19, 2012 at 12:37 PM

SKANEE, Mich., May 19 (UPI) -- Michigan state officials say they have confirmed the presence of a cougar near the town of Skanee in Baraga County.

Resident Fred Nault captured a photo of the animal as it was crossing the street near Skanee May 5. He contacted The Department of Natural Resources May 15, who visited the site and verified the animal's presence.

Officials told The Detroit News that although this is the 15th time the presence of a cougar has been verified in the region since 2008, there is no reason to believe they have established a breeding population.

"Both cougars we've seen photos of in the last year have been adults," said Debbie Munson Badini, a spokeswoman for The Department of Natural Resources. "There has been no evidence of reproduction or cubs in the Upper Peninsula since the early 1990s."

The Daily Press reported the last confirmed cougar in Michigan before 2008 was an animal killed near Newberry in 1906.

The state of Michigan classifies cougars, also called mountain lions, as endangered species. Except in the immediate defense of human life, it is unlawful to kill, harass or otherwise harm one.

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