GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — The Michigan Department of Natural Resources has confirmed another cougar sighting in the Upper Peninsula.

A DNR specialist confirmed with NBC-affiliate WLUC on Tuesday that a trail cam in Luce County captured footage of a cougar. The footage was taken on May 14. According to WLUC, this is the third confirmed cougar sighting this year in the Upper Peninsula. The first two happened in Chippewa and Menominee counties.

DNR Bear, Furbearer and Small Game Specialist Cody Norton told the outlet that cougar sightings in Luce County have been trending up over the last few years.

“Most (cougar sightings) have been occurring either in the Eastern part of the U.P. or the Western part of the U.P. So, for this to happen in Luce County, that’s actually been pretty consistent,” Norton told WLUC. “We have been seeing cougar sightings show up in Luce, Chippewa and Mackinac (counties) pretty regularly over the last three or four years.”

The DNR has not published data from 2022 yet. However, the agency reported 12 confirmed sightings in 2021, 15 in 2020 and 11 in 2019.

Cougars are considered native to Michigan but the state’s population was essentially killed off by the early 20th century. The last legal wild cougar kill was taken in 1906 in Newberry. According to the DNR, there have been two illegal kills in the Upper Peninsula since 2008.

It is illegal for people in Michigan to own cougars or other large cats like leopards and jaguars as pets. However, some people who owned the animals before that law was passed in 2000 are still permitted to own those animals. The DNR says the agency has received reports of illegally owned pet cats, including cougars, and has confiscated those animals.

While there is some evidence that Michigan is growing a new population of cougars, the DNR says it has yet to be confirmed.

“Based on documented evidence, cougars observed in Michigan could be escaped or released pets. Or, they could be transient or dispersing cougars from the nearest known breeding populations in North and South Dakota. These populations are over 900 miles from Michigan,” the agency’s website says.

Cougars are considered an endangered species in Michigan and are protected by state law. However, because of populations further west, the animal is not federally protected.

Anyone who sees a cougar or believes they have evidence of a cougar in the area is encouraged to contact the DNR through its website.