A cougar near Kensington Metropark? Two residents report seeing one
By Tom Greenwood
The Detroit News
Milford — At least two residents of this bucolic Oakland County village have recently reported sighting a mountain lion in the area of Kensington Metropark.
Although the big cats — also known as pumas and cougars — have been confirmed in the Upper Peninsula, there have been no confirmed sightings in the Lower Peninsula, according to the Michigan Department of Natural Resources.
And the idea that one was roaming around Milford (population 6,175) should be met with some skepticism, according to a state official.
"It's unlikely," said Adam Bump, bear and furbearer specialist for the DNR, who was quoted by the Oakland Press. "I would say it's not impossible."
Bump said there have been 17 or 18 confirmed sightings in the Upper Peninsula.
In July DNR officials confirmed a photo of a large, healthy-looking cougar taken by a trail camera in a near Marquette.
While the DNR acknowledged that there are big cats in the Upper Peninsula, it said there have been no signs of breeding between the animals.
According to the DNR, people often mistake bobcats for cougars, although bobcats are usually found in areas north of Oakland County.
Bruce Holden, owner of Holden's Party Store in Milford, said one of his customers reported seeing a mountain lion in the area.
"My customer said she saw it and she doesn't seem like an unreasonable person," Holden said.
"We both live in the same rural area but I've never seen any cougar, although I have seen plenty of coyotes."
Michael Pucker, an interpretive naturalist at Kensington Metropark, said he also received a report from someone who trades at Holden's Party Store.
"One man said he was out mowing at 6 a.m. and he saw it … clear as day," Pucker told the Press. "Based on the description I heard, it sure sounds like they know what a cougar looks like. They described it correctly."
If the reports are correct, the animal might be one that was kept as a pet and escaped.
According to Pucker, there have been no official sightings of bobcats at the park, let alone cougars.
But there have been at least 61 sightings of mountain lions in Oakland County, according to the group Michigan Citizens for Cougar Recognition.
The group's listings date from 1840 to March 2011 with the last two sightings in the Milford/Kensington Park area.
The Detroit News left a message with the group's website requesting an interview.
The Associated Press contributed.
Via The Detroit News: http://www.detroitnews.com/article/20121023/METRO02/210230390#ixzz2A8yik2DO