A cougar spotted in Juneau County earlier this month is a sign the animal is starting to make a comeback in Wisconsin, says a UW-Stevens Point wildlife ecology professor who has studied the animal. Eric Anderson is working with the DNR to put together an advisory group that will help state wildlife officials figure out how to manage the animal as its population increases.
The animal is slowly returning to Wisconsin. There have been four verifiable cougar sightings since 2008, Anderson said. The last time before that when cougars roamed the Badger State was in 1908.
“It’s inevitable that [natural colonization] will happen sooner or later,” Anderson said.
Anderson predicts that the cougar that attacked a cow in Juneau County May 15th likely traveled from the Black Hills of South Dakota. He said the cougar community there has become overpopulated and that male cougars are usually kicked out.
The most important thing to controlling the population is keeping the animal afraid of people, Anderson said. He said that’s why it will be necessary to kill the Juneau County cougar if it’s found.