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E-M:/ DNR Announces New Cougar Web Site

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

October 27, 2006

Contact: David Bostick 517-373-1263 or Ann Wilson 517-335-3014

DNR Announces New Cougar Web Site
Michigan Department of Natural Resources wildlife officials today announced that up-to-date scientific information regarding cougars is now available on the DNR Web site at www.michigan.gov/dnrcougars.

?The DNR recognizes the potential for the presence of cougars is alarming to many Michigan citizens. Providing information about cougars on our Web site is an important first step in educating the public,? said DNR Director Rebecca A. Humphries. ?We encourage people to visit this Web site if they have any questions about cougars.?

As part of the education strategy, DNR staff also will be participating in a national cougar training event in New Mexico next March.

?It is critical that DNR personnel are trained to correctly identify cougar tracks, scats, markings and characteristics of animals that have been attacked by a cougar,? said Bill Moritz, DNR Wildlife Division chief.

Moritz said the DNR is making it a priority to get staff trained about cougars so biologists can make accurate, informed decisions when conducting field investigations.
Cougars originally were native to Michigan, but were extirpated from the Midwest around the beginning of the 20th century. The last known wild cougar taken in Michigan occurred in 1906 near Newberry. There have been periodic reports of cougar sightings since that time from various locations throughout the state. 
Currently, available evidence indicates cougar numbers in the Midwest are very low and, therefore, the likelihood of cougar encounters and attacks is correspondingly very low. Sightings of cougars may be reported online at www.michigan.gov/dnr under ?Wildlife and Habitat,? then ?Viewing Wildlife.
The DNR will follow up on reported sightings when physical evidence of a cougar (scat, tracks or carcass) is present. If physical evidence is present, or livestock depredation suspected, contact the nearest DNR Operations Service Center. Phone numbers are listed on the DNR Web site. If the contact is made after normal business hours, call the DNR Report All Poaching hotline at (800) 292-7800.
It is extremely important to not disturb the area where the evidence was found and to keep the physical evidence intact until it can be investigated.

The DNR is committed to the conservation, protection, management, use and enjoyment of our state?s natural resources for current and future generations.


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