State law lists mountain lions as an endangered species. Mountain lions may not be hunted or trapped for fur in Michigan. However, per depredation policy, the Michigan DNR may issue a permit to remove, capture, or destroy a mountain lion “to alleviate damage to property or to protect human health.” In emergency situations involving an immediate threat to human life any person may remove, capture, or destroy the lion. At the same time, owners of domestic animals do not appear to be required to protect their pets or livestock. Nor is there a government-funded compensation program for domestic animals lost to mountain lions.
Poaching laws in Michigan provide some legal protection of mountain lions, but only as a deterrent. Unfortunately, penalties are unlikely to be sufficiently harsh to keep poachers from poaching again. Illegally taking a mountain lion results is a misdemeanor charge punishable by imprisonment for not more than 90 days, or a fine of not more than $1,000.00.
Finally, the Michigan Department of Transportation does not require road kill reporting or keep a record of mountain lions killed on the State’s roads. Doing so could aid in the development of effective mitigation plans.