Detection and classification of cougars in Michigan using low copy DNA sources

Bradley J. Swanson, Patrick J. Rusz

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7 Scopus citations


Sporadic reports of cougars (Puma concolor) have occurred in Michigan since its official classification as extirpated in the 1930s. We collected 297 scats from 12 areas in Michigan with heavy sighting reports of cougars. Ten scats produced DNA profiles consistent with cougars. One scat was identified as having a North American origin; the other nine scats produced no useable sequences. One pre-Columbian sample, from a Native American burial site; also matched the current North American genotype. Based on the distance between cougar scats, we conclude that there were at least eight cougars in Michigan during the 3 y of this study. The mtDNA sequences also suggest that at least some of the matrilines currently and historically found in Michigan are the same as those found in current and historical western populations.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)363-372
Number of pages10
JournalAmerican Midland Naturalist
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 2006


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