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By Scott Sullivan


Cougar Team

The Michigan Department of Natural Resources last week confirmed the presence of a cougar in Bath Township.

The DNR’s Cougar Team reviewed a Haslett man’s photo taken June 21 near the Rose Lake State Wildlife Area, visited and determined the big cat was real.

Cougars, originally native to Michigan, were extirpated here around the turn of the 20th century, the DNR reported. Apparently no longer. There have been sightings statewide since 2008, but none confirmed in the Lower Peninsula till last week.

This begs several questions. The DNR has a Cougar Team? How cool a job would that be? Also, what if I come face to face with one of these feline predators?

Cougars, the DNR warned, are protected under the Endangered Species Act and cannot be harmed except to protect human life. Face to face, who is more endangered? Here’s what to do, says the agency:

  • Face the cougar and don’t act submissive. Stand tall, wave your arms and talk in a loud voice.
  • Never run from a cougar. If children are present let them know this is not “Hello Kitty.” Pick them up so they can’t run either.
  • Don’t crouch and get on all fours. (Not the first thing I’d think to do.)
  • If attacked, fight back with whatever’s available. Don’t play dead. (What if you’re not playing?)
  • Report the encounter to local police and the DNR Cougar Team right away.

Herbert Hoover, pledging “a chicken in every pot,” got elected president in 1928. The next year the Depression started. Now there are cougars in Bath, what’s next? Asian carp in Lake Michigan? A Michigan man plunging over Niagara Falls with a boa constrictor?

Yes and yes. First, they — Asian carp — are coming closer, cautions the Michigan League of Conservation Voters, which reported a two-foot-long carp was caught last week only nine miles from Lake Michigan. This was well beyond an electric barrier network meant to prevent the invasive fish from reaching the Great Lakes and closest one’s come so far to them.

The Trump Administration, the League said, is holding hostage a critical report that could propel us toward towards a solution in ending the Great Lakes Asian carp threat. “A bipartisan team of Michigan lawmakers recently introduced the ‘Stop Asian Carp Now’ Act to force the Trump Administration to release this report,” it continued.

But they (Asian carp, not lawmakers or league activists who’ve infested our state already) draw even closer. What to do? You can lobby lawmakers or, of course, give the League money to do that for you.

I love nature except when I don’t. Even native species — such as cougars in Michigan till invasive humans drove them out — poison ivy, rats and mosquitoes are part of the Circle of Life but still suck.

As for human nature, take Kirk Jones, 53, of Canton, who posted a website showing him and a 7-foot boa, Misty. It previewed his plan to plunge over Niagara Falls clinging to the snake and 8-foot inflatable ball. You could buy photos and t-shirts on it.

Jones became the first person known to survive going over the Falls with no safety device in 2003 after climbing a rail and jumping in as a suicide attempt. The feat brought fleeting fame to the unemployed salesman, who fell out of the public eye soon after.

“Believe in the Impossible Kirk Jones + Misty Gomper Niagara Falls NY,” read the website, which police have since has been taken down.

They believe he died April 19, the same day tourists spotted a large plastic ball spinning in the Niagara River. His body was pulled from the water June 2 near where the Niagara River feeds into Lake Ontario. No sign of Misty, though an empty snake cage was found in Jones’ parked van, police reported.

Try suicide, fail at even that and you’re famous … briefly. Try a repeat hoping to cash in and you succeed at what you intended to do the first time. Is that pathos or what?

Poor snake …