DNR can't confirm recent cougar sighting

MARQUETTE — Witnesses walking on a trail say they had a big surprise this weekend.

Reports on social media from visitors to the portion of the Iron Ore Heritage Trail near Stoneville Road in Ishpeming indicate a possible mountain lion sighting. Experts at the Michigan Department of Natural Resources say they can’t confirm the sighting.

They add that residents who believe they have seen a mountain lion should contact the DNR right away.

“We have an online cougar observation report that a lot of people fill out. We actually get dozens of reports each week,” said DNR Wildlife Management Specialist Kevin Swanson.

“A biologist or wildlife technician will contact the individual that submitted the photo and then visit the location to confirm that that was the exact location where the photo was taken,” Swanson added.

So what should you do if you see a mountain lion in the wild of the Upper Peninsula?

“The best thing to do is to stand tall if you were to see a cougar. It’s similar to seeing a black bear so if you see one of those, you want to stand tall, wave your arms around, clap and just look large,” said Swanson.

“You don’t want to run away, that’s a mistake to run away or even play dead,” he added.

Since 2008, the DNR has confirmed 35 cougar sightings in the state and all of them have been in the Upper Peninsula.