DICKINSON COUNTY, Mich. (WJMN) – A trail camera photo of a cougar taken in September has been confirmed by wildlife biologists with the Michigan Department of Natural Resources.

“On Sept. 16, 2021, a trail camera photo was taken of a cougar in southern Dickinson County,” said Cody Norton, large carnivore specialist for the DNR. “This is about 50 miles from where a July 20 video was captured in Baraga County.”

The photo showing the big cat walking through a forest clearing gained traction in recent weeks after it was posted on social media.

Biologists who investigate reports of cougar sightings for the department became aware of the photo after its posting but were not able to confirm that it was taken in Michigan until the photo’s owner contacted the DNR after seeing it in a newspaper article.

Since 2008, the number of confirmed sightings of mountain lions in Michigan climbs to 74 after this most recent incident report, including 10 confirmed in the Upper Peninsula in 2021.

Confirmed reports in the U.P this year have occurred in Baraga, Delta, Dickinson, Houghton, Luce, Marquette, and Schoolcraft counties. However, the department is unable to confirm whether the cougars in each report are separate animals.

While the department has no confirmed evidence of a breeding mountain lion population in the U.P., the number of confirmed sightings has continued to rise each of the past three years, possibly due to the increased popularity of trail cameras in the area.

To view forms used to report evidence of mountain lions or see the full list of confirmed reports, visit Michigan.gov/Cougars.