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Help ensure a future for mountain lions in Michigan.

Though mountain lions once roamed the hills and forests of Michigan, persecution at the hands of humans drove them locally extinct. If we support open space conservation and preserve corridors connecting potential habitat, we could reverse this situation and bring mountain lions back home to Michigan.

Although mountain lions may be physically capable of living in an area, human activities and attitudes could keep them from reestablishing a population there. Fragmentation, sport hunting practices, and intolerant communities can wipe out mountain lions from any area. For more data on
                  habitat use, check out our various Science tabs.

  • Return to the portal page for Michigan.

  • The status of Puma concolor in Michigan.

  • State law and regulations affecting cougars.

  • The history of cougars in Michigan.

  • Ecosystems and habitat in Michigan.

  • Cougar science and research in Michigan.

  • Our library of media, research and reports.

  • How you can take action to help!

Michigan Lion Habitat and Population

Before European settlement, mountain lions roamed throughout Michigan and beyond. Perceived conflict with livestock, heavy hunting pressure, conversion of wildlands to agriculture and other forms of habitat loss drove Michigan's mountain lions to local extinction.

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Click on map to enlarge.

There hasn't been much, if any, research specifically addressing potential habitat for mountain lions in the state, but there has been work looking at the importance of potential dispersal corridors across the U.S. Though we don't have direct measurements of potential habitat acreage were mountain lions to return to Michigan, we can be fairly certain there is plenty of habitat to re-establish a population there. Habitat that supports wolves in the Upper Peninsula would likely support mountain lions as well. In addition, a viable population in Michigan would help provide potential dispersing individuals to help repopulate neighboring states across the Midwest. A study by LaRue et al. (2007) estimates that there are 9,902 square kilometers of highly suitable habitat across the Midwest.

Establishing mountain lion-friendly legislation and management practices will likely need to play a role in allowing this top carnivore to return to the great state of Michigan. Check out our Action Tab to see what you can do to help!

Click here to open a new window and visit the agency's website...

Michigan Department of Natural Resources.

Commonly abbreviated as: MIDNR

Executive Director

(517) 284-6367

Non-Game Coordinator
Ray Rustem
Mason Building, Fourth Floor
P.O. Box 30444
Lansing, MI 48909-7944
(517) 373-2457

Please write to the director and express your concern for lions in Michigan.

Thank the agency when they take steps to protect our state's cougars. When they fall short of expectations, politely ask for policy reform and more officer training.