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Illinois issues nuisance permits to kill cougars that have caused no harm.

In Illinois, the cougar is a protected species and by law, may not be trapped or hunted. However, it is not listed as an endangered species and is not protected from being killed. Illinois administrative code allows any cougar interpreted as stalking, causing an imminent threat or a reasonable expectation of an imminent threat of physical harm or death to a human, livestock, or domestic animals or harm to structures or other property to be killed by the landowner or their agent. Mountain lions not actively destroying property may be legally taken if a landowner first obtains a Nuisance Wildlife Control Permit.

  • Return to the portal page for Illinois.

  • The status of Puma concolor in Illinois.

  • State law and regulations affecting cougars.

  • The history of cougars in Illinois.

  • Ecosystems and habitat in Illinois.

  • Cougar science and research in Illinois.

  • Our library of media, research and reports.

  • How you can take action to help!


We need volunteers in your area!

Please sign up for email updates or email volunteer @ for more information about becoming a local field representative for MLF.

Here's what you can do:

Immediate Steps:

  1. Build a coalition to learn from and educate people on how to peacefully coexist with the mountain lion population.
  2. Contribute a positive voice. Write a letter to your local newspaper expressing your excitement about local mountain lions and your views on the importance of protecting them.
  3. Distribute educational information on how residents can protect their pets and livestock. Consider animal shelters, veterinary clinics, 4H clubs, Scouting organizations, FFA, shooting clubs, and any other pertinent public locations as potential outlets.
  4. Email and suggest local officials likely to be friendly to mountain lion conservation in Illinois.

Interim Steps:

  1. Become familiar with the Wildlife Code of the Illinois General Assembly as it pertains to mountain lions. Reach out to MLF and wildlife experts. Then attend public meetings with the Illinois Department of Natural Resources and ask them to:
    1. Develop a Mountain Lion Management Plan that will protect mountain lions and their habitat
    2. Offer information and training for landowners on non-consumptive techniques for dealing with potential depredation issues.
    3. Petition for mountain lions to be added to the state endangered and threatened species list.
  2. Do you know of a state official that may understand the importance of protecting mountain lions? Write to them:
    1. Implore them to begin an effort to establish depredation regulations that require the exhaustive use non-lethal strategies.
    2. Urge them to disallow nuisance permits and to restrict the killing of mountain lions to instances involving an imminent threat to life.
    3. Propose a government-funded compensation program for domestic animals lost to mountain lions that compensates the late owner with resources to protects their remaining assets from mountain lions.


 Long term Steps:

  1. Request to meet with your state legislators to talk about
    1. Developing a liability initiative to incentivize or require owners to take certain measures to protect pets and livestock from mountain lions.
    2. The potential management benefits that could stem from accurately recording mountain lions killed on the state’s roads.

ON AIR: Phil Carter - One Step Forward, Two Steps Back

03/19/13 An Audio Interview with Julie West, MLF Broadcaster

In this edition of our audio podcast ON AIR, MLF Volunteer Julie West interviews mountain lion program manager Phil Carter of Animal Protection of Illinois. Carter discusses the often ridiculous lengths the Illinois Department of Game and Fish will go to to disregard the public, bury scientific research, and ignore all common sense. Trying to protect mountain lions in Illinois and incorporate the best science into management has turned into a game of one step forward, two steps back.

Click here to view our Activist Guide...

Becoming a Mountain Lion Activist

There are lots of opportunities to take action!

Are you new to mountain lion activism? You want to change your local environment to improve it for cougars... but you don't know how to start. You may feel like you are all alone... but it takes just one person to change the attitudes and lifestyles of hundreds of others. You don't need to belong to a group. It doesn't take special skills or superhuman abilities. You just need to care enough about cougars to want to help them survive. You've already done the hard part, now let us help you with the next step.

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

Illinois Department of Natural Resources.

Commonly abbreviated as: IDNR

Wayne Rosenthal, Director

Main Office:
Illinois Department of Natural Resources
One Natural Resources Way
Springfield, IL 62702
(217) 785-8272

Conservatiom Section

James Renn
One Natural Resources Way
Springfield, IL 62702
(217) 785-5907