Photo of Rotational grazing and proper pasture management protects the trout stream that runs through the pasture. Class I trout stream in Columbia County, Wisconsin.


A change to give mountain lions the protection they deserved 100 years ago.

While native to the state, about 100 years ago, eastern mountain lions were extripated from Wisconsin. More recently, occasional mountain lions have ventured into Wisconsin from the west. Thus far, there has been no effort to develop a cougar management plan.

Currently, Mountain Lions are a protected species in Wisconsin meaning they may not be hunted, trapped or possessed without first obtaining appropriate DNR authorization. Protected species include all endangered and threatened species. However, mountain lions are not currently listed on Wisconsin’s endangered and threatened species list.

  • Return to the portal page for Wisconsin.

  • The status of Puma concolor in Wisconsin.

  • State law and regulations affecting cougars.

  • The history of cougars in Wisconsin.

  • Ecosystems and habitat in Wisconsin.

  • Cougar science and research in Wisconsin.

  • 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 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 New Jersey.

Interim Steps

  1. Become familiar with the stance taken by the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources toward mountain lions. Reach out to MLF and wildlife experts. Then attend public meetings with the Natural Resources Board and the Conservation Congress and ask them to:
    1. Develop a Mountain Lion Management Plan that will protect mountain lions and their habitat
    2. Encourage non-consumptive practices for landowners concerned with 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. Urge them to consider legislation to protect mountain lions as they reestablish a population within the state.

Long term Steps:

  1. Request to meet with your state legislators about giving mountain lions legal protection in Wisconsin.
    1. Ask for legislation that will protect recolonizing lions in Wisconsin.
    2. Request that mountain lions be protected under Wisconsin's endangered species law.
  2. Utilize Wisconsin Administrative Code - Chapter NR 27.04 - "Any 3 persons may petition the department to review the status of any listed or unlisted wild animal or wild plant."

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 Wisconsin. Carter discusses the often ridiculous lengths the Wisconsin 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 Wisconsin 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...

Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources.

Commonly abbreviated as: DNR

Kent Van Horn, Acting Wildlife Director

DNR Service Center
141 NW Barstow Room 180
Waukesha, WI 53188
(608) 576-3963

Large Carnivore Biologist
David MacFarland
DNR Service Center
107 Sutliff Ave.
Rhinelander, WI 54501
(715) 365-8917

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

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.