RABER TOWNSHIP, Mich. (AP) — There are two new confirmed cougar sightings in the eastern part of Michigan's Upper Peninsula, according to the state Department of Natural Resources.

The department said Friday that it has verified two photographs of the large predators this fall. There now have been 26 sightings in 11 Upper Peninsula counties since 2008, it said.

One photo was taken by a camera phone in late October on private property in Chippewa County's Raber Township. The site is about 30 miles south-southeast of Sault Ste. Marie. The second photo was taken in early November by a trail camera on public land in Mackinac County's Garfield Township.

The department said it believes that young cougars are dispersing from established populations in the Dakotas seeking new territory.

“There is no evidence of a breeding population of cougars in the state,” it said.

Adult cougars generally weigh between 90 and 180 pounds and live mainly on deer. They live an average of eight to 12 years.

According to the state's website, cougars were native to Michigan but were exterminated about 100 years ago. The last known cougar capture was in 1906 near Newberry.

“Over the past few years, numerous cougar sighting reports have been received from various locations in Michigan,” the department said. “This situation is not unique to Michigan, but has been occurring in many other mid-western and eastern states as well.”

———

Sighting Details: http://1.usa.gov/1qyu9S9

Cougars In Michigan: http://1.usa.gov/1zdaHiX