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Posted on Thu, Mar 22, 2012 : 2:27 p.m.

U-M Police: Possible cougar spotted on North Campus

By Kyle Feldscher

Editor's note: The story has been updated to include information about a second possible sighting Thursday afternoon.

The University of Michigan Department of Public Safety is alerting the public that an animal described as a “possible cougar” was spotted Thursday near Hubbard Road between Green Road and Stone Road.

While it would be very unusual for a cougar to make its way into Washtenaw County, department of public safety spokeswoman Diane Brown urged caution when being in the area.

“If it is something, it could potentially be problematic,” Brown said. “Even if it’s just a large cat or dog, it’s technically on the loose and that’s not a good idea either.”

Police officers and housing security searched the area after the report came in at 8:30 a.m. Thursday, but the “suspicious animal” was not found, according to Brown.

However, a second sighting was reported to police during the afternoon, Brown confirmed. Officers have gone back out to the area and were searching for tracks as of 3:40 p.m. Thursday, she said.

Brown said at about 4:30 p.m. Thursday that the second sighting was likely not a cougar. She said the second animal was described as black with a patch of white fur, while the first animal was described as tan.

Officers searched the area and did not find any tracks, she said.

The Michigan Department of Natural Resources has been in contact with the department, Brown said.

There have been rumors of cougar sightings in Michigan during the past few years, but usually in rural areas. According to the DNR’s website, the cougar was originally native to Michigan but hunted to the point that the population in the state disappeared.

Adam Bump, a bear and furbearer specialist with the DNR, said the DNR has never verified a cougar sighting in the Lower Peninsula, but has done so 10 times in the Upper Peninsula. Bump said there have been sightings reported in every Michigan county, but most lack physical evidence and when physical evidence is found, it usually can be attributed to a different animal.

“There’s a lot of reports with no physical evidence,” Bump said. “There’s been eyewitnesses but no pictures of the cat or of tracks or anything like that.”

Bump said it’s possible that cougars can be confused with bobcats, coyotes and even large house cats when seen from far away.

Wild cougars rarely — if ever — wander into populated areas, Bump said. It’s possible that someone could be keeping a cougar as a pet illegally and the pet got loose, but a cougar that is not disoriented or lost won’t usually come near people, he said.

Brown told residents to be wary of having small children and pets in the area. She said bicyclists should also be on the lookout when riding through the area.

Cougar sightings in southeastern Michigan are rare and almost never verified by the DNR. However, they're not unheard of — two years ago, reports of cougars being seen in Novi and Troy made headlines.

Update: It did not take long for the already-named North Campus Cougar to become Internet famous. Within minutes, "North Campus" was trending on Twitter regionally and — as is standard when animals are spotted in this area (see: The Dexter Bear) — at least two Twitter accounts for the animal were set up.

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Kyle Feldscher covers cops and courts for He can be reached at or you can follow him on Twitter.



Fri, Mar 23, 2012 : 1:38 p.m.

Was a Real Housewife of Wherever seen in the vicinity as well?

Wolf's Bane

Fri, Mar 23, 2012 : 12:12 p.m.

Courtney Cox spotted in A2? I wonder if she is back for another sequel to Scary movie?

Jim Pryce

Fri, Mar 23, 2012 : 11:25 a.m.

I saw a sasquatch too.


Fri, Mar 23, 2012 : 5:41 a.m.

Just thinking: the campus of the Music School is heavily wooded and has very hilly character. Cougars typically hunt from above. This time of year, there'd be plenty of nesting geese to attract such a predator - and they are on the Music School grounds as well.


Fri, Mar 23, 2012 : 5:03 a.m.

The problem with these reports of non-native animals in any human occupied areas is the knowledge of the reporters. The 2nd report is typical: "black with white patch" - someone who's never seen a cougar might claim that but who HASN'T at least seen photos? OTH: just last year, a live wild cougar was sighted, photographed and eventually darted for removal from near: the Palo Alto city hall. THAT one had to have travelled a very long way through built up urban and suburban areas. The advice given in this local example is good: just do not assume a wild or even an escaped pet cougar is harmless. Most of us have read of the cougar attacks on cyclists and joggers in California. There's no predicting what a large predator cat will do. I would be expecting reports of killed dogs and cats - that would support the idea that a cougar is on the prowl in town. And finally: this is Reason #44 (no matter the probability of this kind of attack) for carrying a self defense handgun. :-) Whatever: I think should put up a reward for a clear photo of the North Campus Cougar.


Fri, Mar 23, 2012 : 5:45 a.m.

A cougar is native wherever it is found in the US. If its here, its not non-native. Its just really really rare.


Fri, Mar 23, 2012 : 3:55 a.m.

this just in....the cougar has attacked four attractive young males

Linda Peck

Fri, Mar 23, 2012 : 2:57 a.m.

If there is a cougar or a bobcat around here, it would be a good thing, as we need predators, too, in our woods.


Fri, Mar 23, 2012 : 2:01 a.m.

I've been hearing about Cougar and Panther sightings in SE Michigan for decades. They always seem to follow the big rivers. i.e. Huron, Raisin. I'm sure many of the sightings are authentic. Some may be mis identified, but it's hard to not know a cougar when you see one.


Fri, Mar 23, 2012 : 12:49 a.m.

@ bunnyabbot "rafters of turkeys living in woods..." Where the Billy Hell did you come up with that phrase?!! I googled it, I know it's legit, but I've never heard it before. Not quite as newsworthy, but my dog has been chasing deer in Eberwhite Woods this week. We're not talking Geddes and Awixa, we're talking Liberty and Virginia! Well inside of both I-94 and Stadium! Three mature whitetails sighted Tues. AM, and two this evening. Took me a half hour to get my dog back. And if I could post pics here, I'd show you all one of the Elusive Eberwhite Woods "Panther" (would I lie to you?).


Fri, Mar 23, 2012 : 3:04 a.m.

well then there you learned something from reading (a comment on) gaggle of geese, flock of birds, rafter of wild turkeys. Rafter is almost never heard, most say flock or gaggle of turkeys. Their ugly and skiddish and imagine if a cougar got one it would be loud as heck.

wolfman jack

Fri, Mar 23, 2012 : 12:25 a.m.

These beasts are highly mobile and are opportunistic. A mountain lion will eat a poodle. Coyotes are common (they howl in Huron Valley by Dexter every night as the late train comes through this week). Bobcats cry in river valley late every spring. A bear ate a chicken coop last year. Cougar unlikely ? Sure he is. I'm not ruling out a mobile cat in the lower part of the state. I am not swallowing that "oh - they're in the UP" business at all. Yell cougar - it's a problem for lots of folks. Mom get's upset if little Suzie can be a snack food. Cougars are hard to trap in drainage tubes on wheels baited with a picnic basket. They aren't bears. It's almost spring turkey season. If he's out there I suspect someone will find out. They are soft skinned. Turkey load is not a bad thing to have in your hand at 04:30 in the morning walking the edge of the tree line. Anybody ever see _Jaws_ ? "Love to prove that wouldn't you ...get your name into the _National Geographic_. " Shot in Iowa in December, 2011. Connecticut in June 2011 - after traveling on foot from Minnesota. Shot in Missouri near Columbia Jan 2011.


Fri, Mar 23, 2012 : 12:53 a.m.

Just a poodle? Guess again:


Fri, Mar 23, 2012 : 12:04 a.m.

Currently trying to think of an off-color cougar joke that won't delete.

cornelius McDougenschniefferburgenstein jr. 3 esq.

Fri, Mar 23, 2012 : 1:42 a.m.



Thu, Mar 22, 2012 : 11:59 p.m.

Not as scary as a possible bigfoot spotted on north campus.


Thu, Mar 22, 2012 : 11:03 p.m.

So, do I have to stop for a cougar approaching a crosswalk?


Fri, Mar 23, 2012 : 6:50 p.m.


cornelius McDougenschniefferburgenstein jr. 3 esq.

Fri, Mar 23, 2012 : 1:40 a.m.

only if she has 2 legs.

Kai Petainen

Thu, Mar 22, 2012 : 10:42 p.m.

here's a link to other cougar sightings within michigan


Thu, Mar 22, 2012 : 10:39 p.m.

First of all, the picture provided is evidently not the animal in question, and should have a caption explaining that. Secondly, what makes this a "rogue" animal? Rogue animals are normally considered aberrant in their behavior, and dangerous as a result--typically due to human abuse. There is nothing to suggest this is a "rogue" animal, other than journalistic sensationalism. If there is, in fact, a cougar/puma in the area, it likely is wild and roaming--several have been seen in the Northern parts of Michigan and the UP.


Thu, Mar 22, 2012 : 10:18 p.m.

Can I trade in my cougar wife for two pumas?


Thu, Mar 22, 2012 : 9:55 p.m. are delete happy tonight again. I thought there was some good funny comments on the Cougar. But my post and I see others are gone now!!

Julie Baker

Thu, Mar 22, 2012 : 10:36 p.m.

A number of comments were blocked by mistake. They have been restored. We're enjoying the comments, too!


Thu, Mar 22, 2012 : 9:39 p.m.

There was a male Cougar in Kalamazoo the other night. Sir Elton John was at Wings Stadium!!

Jimmy McNulty

Thu, Mar 22, 2012 : 9:24 p.m.

UPDATE: The cougar that was spotted was actually Katie Couric.

Dog Guy

Thu, Mar 22, 2012 : 9:23 p.m.

Coyote, cougar, wolf, bear . . . I welcome them all to a Washtenaw Deer banquet.


Thu, Mar 22, 2012 : 9:18 p.m.

I can't take credit for this one - my co-worker suggested it could be John Cougar Mellen-campus.


Thu, Mar 22, 2012 : 11:56 p.m.

Hahahahahaaaa!!! ROFL! See. THIS is why I love!


Thu, Mar 22, 2012 : 10:36 p.m.

LOL. That was so bad it was good!!!!


Thu, Mar 22, 2012 : 9:15 p.m.

I'm sorry, That is absolutely the funniest post I have ever read. Watch out, young men...cougar on the prowl...If you don't get the joke, that's okay. TOO funny!


Thu, Mar 22, 2012 : 9:10 p.m.

The deer around there North Campus seem pretty tame---- easy pickings for a hungry cougar. Wounded/sick cougars have been know to attack people in California so I hope there is nothing wrong with this one.


Fri, Mar 23, 2012 : 11:30 a.m.

Good to know trueblue. I remember reading about a cougar attack in southern Cal ( killed a guy riding his bike) and the naturalist said that wounded or sick animals will attack humans because they are perceived as an easier source of food ( can't escape easily ).


Fri, Mar 23, 2012 : 5:29 a.m.

Actually, the attack reports my naturalist daughter talks about involve young, healthy cougars. The young ones go out looking to establish a hunting territory: sometimes in parks near towns. My daughter worked for several years in the Muir Woods which lies across the S.F. Bridge. Though "tame" and a popular tourist area: she'd seen bobcats and large rattlesnakes with some regularity. The cougar confirmed in Palo Alto was certainly a healthy specimen - it just wandered there through miles of heavily populated Bay Area towns. So I wouldn't be all that surprised if this "scare" turns out to be genuine: cougars are spreading all the way to the East Coast.


Thu, Mar 22, 2012 : 9:03 p.m.

All those fat geese on North Campus will be, um, sitting ducks....


Thu, Mar 22, 2012 : 8:58 p.m.

I saw a whole pack of them at the Black Pearl last night.

Paul Kersey

Thu, Mar 22, 2012 : 8:45 p.m.

A cougar? What's her name?


Thu, Mar 22, 2012 : 8:36 p.m.

Silver hoop earrings, tortoise-shell glasses, long glossy brown hair? Yup - that was me........... born to roam.


Thu, Mar 22, 2012 : 9:30 p.m.

Mom, is that you? .... OMG, I'm so embarrassed! *rolls eyes*


Thu, Mar 22, 2012 : 8:27 p.m.

Well, first of all, cougars aren't spotted. I'd say what y'all have there is a mighty big Dalmation.


Thu, Mar 22, 2012 : 8:27 p.m.

Perhaps global warming caused this cougar to migrate here? It seems to be the reason for everything else that happens lately.


Thu, Mar 22, 2012 : 8:27 p.m.

Steve Gillette, the folk singer, has a wonderful song called "There's a Panther in Michigan". This story made me think of the song. His song talks about Manchester and the River Raisin. I sincerely hope that no one will kill it and that it decides to move on.

Kitty O'Brien

Thu, Mar 22, 2012 : 8:23 p.m.

I run an errand and it makes the news.


Fri, Mar 23, 2012 : 2:08 a.m.

Best comment of all!


Thu, Mar 22, 2012 : 10:56 p.m.



Thu, Mar 22, 2012 : 10:50 p.m.

Funniest comment of the day.


Thu, Mar 22, 2012 : 9:19 p.m.

Nice one


Thu, Mar 22, 2012 : 8:09 p.m.

I didn't think Weber's was considered North Campus. There are always cougars around there.


Thu, Mar 22, 2012 : 8:37 p.m.

I've hunted them in this area before.


Thu, Mar 22, 2012 : 8:08 p.m.


Abby Rosenbaum

Thu, Mar 22, 2012 : 8:05 p.m.

best headline ever on


Thu, Mar 22, 2012 : 7:59 p.m.

Cougars are endangered. Under law, endagered species must be protected by the DNR. DNR thinks it is short money. Ergo, DNR will not definitively admit cougars exist in Michigan.


Thu, Mar 22, 2012 : 8:08 p.m.

Cougars are not on the endangered list, however different states have them listed as threatened and ban hunting on them, (example CA, FL) Some states do issue a limited number of hunting tags for them. It is the same in Canada. It all depends on where you live. In any event you wouldn't want to meet a hungry one on the trail while walking your dog or jogging.


Thu, Mar 22, 2012 : 7:57 p.m.

Time for city council to ok a intensive study on whether it is actually a cougar or not and use the cougar bucket money to pay for it.


Thu, Mar 22, 2012 : 7:55 p.m.

Any sightings of the Kabbitt down in Milan.


Thu, Mar 22, 2012 : 7:44 p.m.

Are they Bobcats or Cougars in our neck of the woods?


Thu, Mar 22, 2012 : 8:44 p.m.

We do have bobcats - I don't know if there are any in southern lower MI, but I grew up about an hour south of the Bridge and there were many bobcats living in the woods there.


Thu, Mar 22, 2012 : 8:36 p.m.

We do have bobcats in lower michigan, I've seen tracks, and my buddy has seen them while hunting near Ludington.


Thu, Mar 22, 2012 : 8:22 p.m.

a quick online search showed one was killed in Albion, MI recently and sightings confirmed in northern Indiana.


Thu, Mar 22, 2012 : 8:20 p.m.

well I can't tell if you are making some OHIO team reference. actual bobcats can indeed be in the midwest, however I haven't heard of one in the lower peninsula.


Thu, Mar 22, 2012 : 8:17 p.m.

Cougars and Bobcats are very different. Ann Arborites often confuse Bobcats with Buckeyes, but this would be even more of an absurd mistake with a Cougar.


Thu, Mar 22, 2012 : 8:04 p.m.

So do we only have Cougars in Michigan, or do we also have Bobcats?


Thu, Mar 22, 2012 : 7:54 p.m.

Cougar, Mountain Lion and Puma are all the same animal, the names are interchangable, obviously in the mountains they are called lions. Bobcats are a different cat altogether, confused with Lynx they are part of the same family as a lynx but are a different species. They are most notably spotted and have a butterfly duft of hair hanging off their ears. Mountain Lions look completely different, usually a light sandy yellow/blonde color for blending in with dry grass and rocks.

Stephen Landes

Thu, Mar 22, 2012 : 7:53 p.m.

We've had enough of Bobcats for a while.


Thu, Mar 22, 2012 : 7:39 p.m.

Davidian- That 6-9 feet includes the tail (which can be 3 feet). Most of them are 3-4 feet long not counting tail, and could be mistaken for something else.


Fri, Mar 23, 2012 : 3:13 a.m.

Bob- You've apparently never seen a cougar. An adult male can stand 3ft at the shoulder, reach 9 ft in length of which 2-3 feet is tail, and weigh well over 200 lbs. There is absolutely no mistaking a cougar for something else.


Fri, Mar 23, 2012 : 1:41 a.m.

Clearly you have never seen a live cougar in the wild. There is absolutely no mistaking a cougar for anything else that is living in this geographical region.


Thu, Mar 22, 2012 : 7:37 p.m.

They knew it was a cougar by the black leggings and the low-cut leopard print shirt.


Thu, Mar 22, 2012 : 7:35 p.m.

A few years back there was a claim that a cougar was spotted in Geddes Lake Condos. I really think there is no way a cougar would be out and about in this area.

Chica Del Mar

Thu, Mar 22, 2012 : 7:34 p.m.

I think that's my cat Bobkitty!


Thu, Mar 22, 2012 : 7:32 p.m.

Hurry, hurry.....before someone is offended and they delete all the hilarious comments.


Fri, Mar 23, 2012 : 10:27 a.m.

Mine were. This place is so PC.


Thu, Mar 22, 2012 : 7:30 p.m.

Ive seen plenty on main st. during happy hour.

cornelius McDougenschniefferburgenstein jr. 3 esq.

Fri, Mar 23, 2012 : 1:19 a.m.

where they the two legged variety.


Thu, Mar 22, 2012 : 7:22 p.m.

Last spring I spotted a cougar by the side of M14 that was hit by a car. It was near the area where Dominos Farms is. The next day it was gone, so someone either called it in and it was hauled off or somone took it for themselves. It was a cougar for sure, traffic had backed up and slowed and I was able to see it plain as day, although I never heard about it after that. even if what was spotted wasn't a cougar people have been known to release their captive wild "pets", like those wild animals that were set loose in Ohio last year by the man that then killed himself


Thu, Mar 22, 2012 : 8:29 p.m.

I sure hope no one "dumped" it.


Thu, Mar 22, 2012 : 7:20 p.m.

Insert Demi Moore joke here.


Thu, Mar 22, 2012 : 7:17 p.m.

I would guess that the cougars, when they hunt, are looking more at raccoons, opossums, and the occasional stray cat than deer. But then I'm just guessing. I do know that there were some pretty reliable sightings south of Whitmore Lake last fall, all at about the same time and place.


Fri, Mar 23, 2012 : 7:04 p.m.

I will add rabbits, turkey, young deer, groundhogs and muskrats. Although they're certainly capable of bringing down a deer or cow, they, like foxes and wolves, often have a main diet of surprisingly small animals for their size and power. It's about availability and the health (speed) of the prey population.


Fri, Mar 23, 2012 : 12:25 p.m.

Deer is very common prey for cougars.


Fri, Mar 23, 2012 : 3:08 a.m.

The North American cougar can reach 3 ft. at the shoulder, 9 ft. from nose to tail, and weigh over 200 lb. They can take down a full grown bison, a deer is a snack.

Jeff Gaynor

Thu, Mar 22, 2012 : 7:16 p.m.

No doubt. North Campus kids attend Clague Middle School, home of the Clague Cougars!


Thu, Mar 22, 2012 : 7:15 p.m.

Oh boy! People chasing that bear in Dexter was bad enough. Now we're going to have every want to be tracker out in the area attempting to get pictures.


Thu, Mar 22, 2012 : 7:15 p.m.

Maybe it's after that wild turkey that I've seen twice in the past week in the North campus area west of Huron Parkway.


Fri, Mar 23, 2012 : 1:23 p.m.

Lots of wild turkeys in Scio. Every year we watch 2 or 3 hens raise a clutch of poults. Just in case you wanted the correct terminology.


Thu, Mar 22, 2012 : 9:44 p.m.

fyi, there are wild turkeys in the area, I know farm land off textile and off of scio that have rafters of turkeys living in woods nearby.


Thu, Mar 22, 2012 : 9:28 p.m.

Your turkey has headed west ... I almost hit a turkey on S. 7th by Pioneer yesterday morning ~ 7:30 AM. It came out of the woods to the west, and I had to brake to avoid hitting it. There were lots of cars headed north on S. 7th that had to have seen it too, and the car behind me too.


Thu, Mar 22, 2012 : 8:19 p.m.

I had a wild turkey perched on the railing of my deck in 2011. The bird kind, not the glass bottle kind.


Thu, Mar 22, 2012 : 7:33 p.m.

Are you sure it wasn't a turkey turkey. I mean, like a Thanksgiving type turkey? Because I saw him 3 times last year near Fuller road and once on Huron Parkway near Glazier Way.


Thu, Mar 22, 2012 : 7:14 p.m.

I was just out enjoying the day, no need to turn this into a Thing. Anyway, I'm technically a few years shy of "cougar" status. I think that's a bit harsh.


Thu, Mar 22, 2012 : 7:14 p.m.

I don't think this is unusual or unexpected; after all Michigan has been experiencing milder winters. Just the other day my spouse and I spotted a coyote in Scio Township.


Fri, Mar 23, 2012 : 1:32 p.m.

only one?????


Thu, Mar 22, 2012 : 7:59 p.m.

@forever 27, cougars are indigenous to the area as well, coyotes, black bears and cougars were hunted extensively years ago but they do indeed have a natural habitat within Michigan and into SE Michigan.

Martha Andrews-Schmidt

Thu, Mar 22, 2012 : 7:51 p.m.

We live on Scio Church Rd., which is the boundary between Scio and Lodi Townships, and we have at least dozens of coyotes. We hear them yipping and howling almost nightly.


Thu, Mar 22, 2012 : 7:47 p.m.

Cyotes are all over the area and have been for a number of years. Probably has more to do with the fact they are not hunted and their are plenty of deer around to snack on.


Thu, Mar 22, 2012 : 7:25 p.m.

coyotes are indigenous to this area.


Thu, Mar 22, 2012 : 7:17 p.m.

You are right on. Not a surprise that with the climate change migration patterns and hunting patterns would dramatically shift. It's 80 in March for goodness sakes.

lindsay erin

Thu, Mar 22, 2012 : 7:13 p.m.

A 'possible cougar' in the North Campus area? Hey! What's my mom doing in that part of town at this hour?

Emily B

Thu, Mar 22, 2012 : 7:11 p.m.

I live near that area and I'm pretty sure I saw one a few years back. Very scary. Last fall we had a coyote living in the woods by us as well. Wild Kingdom for sure.


Fri, Mar 23, 2012 : 1:32 p.m.

was gonna say something like that...didn't a report come out about a "black panther" in Canton or somewhere a few years ago?


Thu, Mar 22, 2012 : 7:11 p.m.

Not surprising she would be hunting down a future wealthy Engineering grad.... Its all about the money anymore...


Thu, Mar 22, 2012 : 7:09 p.m.

Hmmmm....not the kind of cougar I was hoping for.

Frustrated in A2

Fri, Mar 23, 2012 : 2:53 a.m.


Susie Q

Fri, Mar 23, 2012 : 12:19 a.m.

Did it look like Demi Moore?


Thu, Mar 22, 2012 : 9:31 p.m.

I was thinking the same thing.


Thu, Mar 22, 2012 : 8:16 p.m.

Thanks for the smile.

brian baird

Thu, Mar 22, 2012 : 8:01 p.m.

Thanks for brining a smile to my face!


Thu, Mar 22, 2012 : 7:33 p.m.



Thu, Mar 22, 2012 : 7:09 p.m.

Anyone that is confusing a Cougar with a "Large Cat" needs to put on their glasses or lay off the acid. An adult cougar will range from 6-9 feet long on average.


Fri, Mar 23, 2012 : 1:30 p.m.

I don't care what anyone say's brother...lay off the acid cracked me up! Thanks I needed that!

Craig Lounsbury

Fri, Mar 23, 2012 : 12:40 p.m.

an adult Couger/Mountain lion would be more like 3.5-5.25 feet excluding the tail. The 6-9 foot range would only include the tail.


Thu, Mar 22, 2012 : 7:12 p.m.

Um, that's pretty large for a cat. A Lion is approximately that size as well.


Thu, Mar 22, 2012 : 6:58 p.m.

It would be great if there were some pictorial evidence of whatever the creature was...I'd be surprised in a cougar made its way into Washtenaw County, but if they did, North Campus is a place they'd want to be. Plenty of deer.


Thu, Mar 22, 2012 : 7:05 p.m.

There is one out in Dexter Township too! Kids came home in November telling us about it, we asked what they had been drinking, made fun of them for months! Then in February, my Sister and Hubby got to spend some time observing it on their way to work early one morning in the same area. I have been trying every weekend to get a picture of it with no success, with little to no snow this year for the benefits of track to follow. This is in the area of North Territorial between Dexter Town Hall Road and Hankerd.

Alex Swary

Thu, Mar 22, 2012 : 6:47 p.m.

Someone call Jack Bauer!!!