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Re: E-M:/ Cougar Hair Samples Verified

Enviro-Mich message from "Mike DePolo" <mjdp@comcast.net>

The Michigan Wildlife Conservancy released the following statement following statements by MDNR regarding its recent admission of a verified cougar presence in Menominee County:

February 4, 2005 Dennis Fijalkowski 517-641-7677
Dr. Pat Rusz 989-865-6701


BATH - Yesterday's admission by the MI Dept of Natural Resources (MDNR) that they have confirmed the presence of a single cougar in Menominee County, is another step in MDNR's piecemeal release of widely accepted cougar proofs, according to the MI Wildlife Conservancy (MWC).

This announcement is on the heels of MDNR Director Rebecca Humphrey's statement in Mid-January that the Department acknowledged the existence of individual cougars but that Michigan does not have a cougar population. "This piecemeal release of information about the cougar population in Michigan is unacceptable," said Dennis Fijalkowski, Executive Director of MWC. "Sound wildlife management requires review of the total evidence of a population, not treating each piece of evidence as an isolated event. The public deserves better", he said.

The MDNR's latest cougar acknowledgement came as a result of their requesting DNA testing of hair samples taken from the headlight of a car by a Michigan State Police Trooper after a motorist reported hitting a large cat on November 2, 2004, in Menominee County. When the results came back positive for cougar, the MDNR acknowledged the presence of a single cougar, not a population.

"The MDNR's statement that this evidence merely points to a single cougar is again misleading," said Fijalkowski. "The agency continues to ignore a long history of credible cougar sightings and physical evidence in Menominee County as well as many other areas in both peninsulas of Michigan."

Note that within eleven miles of where the motorist struck the cougar, MWC has previously documented:

· Bone fragments from a gunshot-wounded cougar in 1984. MDNR requested an analysis by Colorado State University, which determined by high resolution electrophoresis that the sample had a "positive identity to mountain lion." (See two attached .pdf proofs).

· A cougar scat was analyzed by Central Michigan University in 2002 and was confirmed cougar by DNA analysis. This is the same genetics lab that confirmed MDNR's cougar hair analysis yesterday.

· A young cougar was captured on home video tape in 2002, only 11 miles away.

· Since the 1950s, local citizens continue to report numerous cougar sightings, including females with cubs.

MWC reported previously that in 1995, hair samples were obtained from a motorist's bumper in near-by Iron County. The samples were examined microscopically, and determined a cougar match by MDNR wildlife biologist Richard Earle, who filed no report and discarded the samples because he assumed the animal "must be a pet."

And, in 1998 in Alcona County, MDNR wildlife biologist Lawrence Robinson reported sighting a cougar, and sent a memo asking his superiors, John Hendrickson, Tim Reis and Glen Matthews, how to get the information and cougar track photographs into MDNR files without the media finding out. (See the attached* .pdf proof).

And in April of 2004, 500 miles southeast in Monroe County, a housewife captured a pair of cougars on videotape, which proved to be approximately six feet long each. Incredibly, MDNR staff called them "house cats."

The Michigan Wildlife Conservancy again calls on the Michigan Department of Natural Resources to formally acknowledge the presence of a wild, resident and breeding cougar population in Michigan and to develop a strategy for its protection and management and public education.

MWC is a non-profit environmental organization based in Bath near Lansing, whose primary mission is to restore the wildlife heritage of Michigan. The Conservancy has been researching the question of a Michigan cougar population for seven years and has found many proofs of the animal's presence.

The Conservancy has an informative brochure entitled "Living With Cougars In Michigan," which is available free of charge by sending a business-sized, self-addressed stamped envelope to Michigan Wildlife Conservancy, PO Box 393, Bath, MI 48808. Large quantities of the brochure can be obtained free for distribution at organizational meetings, sporting goods outlets, retail establishments and tourist destinations.


*Editor's Note: These pdf files are not attached but are available upon request:

a.   Jan. 14, 1985 Colorado State University. Veterinary School lab report
b.  April 4, 1985 MDNR Rose Lake Pathology lab report
c.  July 15, 1998, Lawrence Robinson's email to MDNR supervisors

Michigan Wildlife Conservancy
PO Box 393
6380 Drumheller Rd.
Bath, MI 48808
Phone: 517-641-7677
Fax: 517-641-7877

Become a member of the Michigan Wildlife Conservancy today! Your gift will help
save our natural heritage for future generations and support our environmental training
programs at the Bengel Wildlife Center, in Bath. For only $35/year, you'll receive six
issues of "The Wildlife Volunteer," Michigan's premier newsletter about wildlife. To join
or learn of other member benefits, visit www.miwildlife.org.

----- Original Message ----- From: "Richard Morscheck" <morscher@michigan.gov>
To: <enviro-mich@great-lakes.net>
Sent: Thursday, February 03, 2005 4:47 PM
Subject: E-M:/ Cougar Hair Samples Verified

Enviro-Mich message from "Richard Morscheck" <morscher@michigan.gov>

Contact: Raymond Rustem, 517-373-1263

Cougar Hair Samples Verified

State wildlife officials today announced that results of DNA testing
hair samples submitted to the Michigan Department of Natural Resources
last November came from a cougar.

A motorist reported hitting "a large cat" on November 2, 2004, and
turned over hair samples collected from the bumper to biologists at
DNR Escanaba field office. The samples were forwarded to the Wildlife
Division's pathology lab and then sent to Central Michigan University
for analysis. The incident occurred in southern Menominee County.

"This is exactly the kind of information we are looking for to gain a
better understanding of what animals are present in Michigan and
identify potential areas for additional work," said DNR Natural
Unit Supervisor Ray Rustem. "Though the information indicates the
presence of a cougar it still does not confirm the presence of a
breeding population in Michigan."

The DNR encourages hunters and outdoor recreationists to report any
sightings of lynx, cougars, moose and wolves using the online wildlife
observation report system on the DNR Web site at www.michigan.gov/dnr.
Click on Wildlife and Habitat and select the Report Wildlife
Observations link.


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============================================================== ENVIRO-MICH: Internet List and Forum for Michigan Environmental and Conservation Issues and Michigan-based Citizen Action. Archives at http://www.great-lakes.net/lists/enviro-mich/

Postings to:  enviro-mich@great-lakes.net      For info, send email to
majordomo@great-lakes.net  with a one-line message body of  "info enviro-mich"