The Michigan Department of Natural Resources announced on Friday that officials have verified a cougar photo taken in northern Marquette County, Michigan.
The photo, shown above, was taken at 2 a.m. on Wednesday, July 18. Officials are not releasing the exact location of the photograph because the property owner wished to remain anonymous.
DNR officials stated that this is the 17th confirmed cougar sighting in the Upper Peninsula since 2008.
"The growing body of evidence continues to indicate the presence of an unknown number of adult cougars in the Upper Peninsula," said DNR wildlife biologist Adam Bump. "In the five years since we confirmed our first cougar report, we have yet to receive any evidence of breeding activity, as all images and other physical evidence have been from adult cats."
The evidence collected by DNR officials include eight sets of tracks, eight photos and one trail camera video from U.P. counties, including Delta, Marquette, Schoolcraft, Mackinac, Chippewa, Ontonagon, Houghton, Keweenaw and Baraga.
DNR officials said that cougars were native to Michigan, but disappeared from the state in the early 1900s. Evidence of a cougar includes tracks about three inches long by three and a half inches wide and suspicious kill sites where deer carcasses are largely intact and buried with sticks and debris.
The Department of Natural Resources cougar team investigates evidence that is reported or submitted, and may visit sites to verify the findings. If you think you have evidence of a cougar on your property, submit a sighting on the DNR's online reporting form.