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.
 
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MOUNTAIN LIONS IN THE STATE OF WISCONSIN

Help ensure a future for mountain lions in Wisconsin

Though mountain lions once roamed the hills and forests of Wisconsin, persecution at the hands of humans has driven them locally extinct in the state. Fear and misinformation were the main forces driving this extirpation. But attitudes have changed since the early 1900s and there's hope for the future.

If we support mountain lion-friendly legislation, open space conservation, and preserve corridors connecting potential habitat, we could reverse this situation and bring mountain lions back home to Wisconsin.

    USE THE TABS TO THE LEFT TO EXPLORE:
  • 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!

SUMMARY: Cougars in the State of Wisconsin

For more detail you can explore using the links below.

The status of Puma concolor.

Though mountain lions once roamed the hills and forests of Wisconsin, persecution at the hands of humans has driven them locally extinct in the state. Fear and misinformation were the main forces driving this extirpation. But attitudes have changed since the early 1900s and there's hope for the future.

If we support mountain lion-friendly legislation, open space conservation, and preserve corridors connecting potential habitat, we could reverse this situation and bring mountain lions back home to Wisconsin.

Click here to learn more about status

Mountain lion law in Wisconsin.

Here you will find all the governing state statutes, mountain lion legal status, state laws, information about the state legislature, initiative and referendum processes, and the state wildlife agency, mountain lion management plans, mountain lion hunting laws, depredation laws, and other regulations as appropriate.

Click here to learn more about law

The history of lions in the state.

Before European settlement, mountain lions once occurred throughout Wisconsin, and moved between Wisconsin and neighboring states. Ideal habitat would have occurred in the forests, hills, and along the timbered streams, but mountain lions could have persisted anywhere there was ample prey.

Direct persecution, conversion of wildlands to agriculture and human development, roads and highways, and other forms of habitat loss all contributed to the decline and ultimate extirpation of mountain lions in Wisconsin.

Click here to learn more about history

Lion habitat in Wisconsin.

Though mountain lions once roamed the hills and forests of Wisconsin, persecution at the hands of humans drove them locally extinct. If we support open space conservation and preserve corridors connecting potential habitat, we could reverse this situation and bring mountain lions back home to Wisconsin.

Although mountain lions may be physically capable of living in an area, human activities and attitudes could keep them from reestablishing a population there. Fragmentation, sport hunting practices, and intolerant communities can wipe out mountain lions from any area. For more data on habitat use, check out our various Science tabs.

Click here to learn more about habitat

The science of lions in the state.

Though mountain lions once roamed the great state of Wisconsin, human persecution has eliminated them from its hills and forests. With no mountain lion population to study, there isn't any current research to report in Wisconsin.

Click on other states' Science Tabs to see the myriad of research projects being conducted by researchers from universities, state and federal agencies, non-profits, and other groups across the country.

Click here to learn more about science

Take action for lions.

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.

Click here to learn more about action
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