LANSING, Mich., Dec. 8 (UPI) — Wildlife enthusiasts say Michigan officials refuse to acknowledge hundreds of cougar sightings because the state doesn’t want to develop a management plan.
Michigan’s Department of Natural Resources said there is insufficient evidence to establish the presence of a breeding population of cougars in the area, The Detroit News reports.
“Up until two, maybe three years ago, the Department of Natural Resources actively tried to cover up cougar evidence in Michigan. I think the reason has been that if there is an established breeding population here, then they would become responsible for managing it. And Michigan is flat-out broke,” said Denise Noble, founder of the Michigan Citizens for Cougar Recognition and a Van Buren County commissioner.
“Confirming one or two cougars in Michigan does not confirm there is a breeding population. We are not convinced there is one,” said Mark Dowling, who tracks the population for the Cougar Network, a Massachusetts-based non-profit company that studies cougar ecology..
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