A new study about cougars finds the big cats are more plentiful and widespread in the Midwest than a decade ago. The recent findings are detailed in the Journal of Wildlife Management, according to the Milwaukee-Wisconsin Journal-Sentinel.
Clay Nielsen, a Southern Illinois University wildlife ecologist who co-authored the report while heading the nonprofit Cougar Network’s scientific research is quoted saying: “We (now) know there are a heck of a lot more cougars running around the Midwest than in 1990. We’ve got an interesting and compelling picture to talk about now.”
The presence of cougars was confirmed 178 times in the Midwest and as far south as Texas between 1990 and 2008, according to the story. Confirmed sightings of Midwest cougars were sporadic before 1990, when there were only a couple. That rose to more than 30 by 2008, the story reports.
Michigan authorities issued a public statement in May about a verified cougar sighting in the Upper Peninsula. The cat was photographed by Fred Nault, a Baraga County resident. The cat was observed near Skanee.
“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, 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.”
Read more: Milwaukee-Wisconsin Journal-Sentinel.