Cougar on the move!

Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources officials say the big cat is looking to set up a territory—a once unlikely sighting in southeast Wisconsin is now becoming a common event.

“Prior to February 7th, we never had a cougar sighting in southeast Wisconsin ever confirmed. It is more common for cougars to be spotted in the central part of the state,” said Dianne Robinson of the Wisconsin DNR.

“All of these animals, whenever they disperse through Wisconsin, they’re looking for a mate; they’re looking to set up a territory,” Robinson said. Since January, the cougar, believed to be a young male, has made his way to Fond du Lac, Washington, Milwaukee and Waukesha Counties.

“I keep thinking he’s going to move on, and then he shows up again,” Robinson commented.

Surveillance video captured the big cat in Brookfield in February, tracks were confirmed by the DNR in Wauwatosa, also in February, and verified by the DNR last Monday—a sighting in Erin was captured by a trail camera.

Cougar tracks…

Robinson explained, “We compare the picture itself to actually being out on the landscape. Look for any tracks, look for any evidence that the animal was there.”

Suspicions are now being raised as to whether there is more than one large cat.

“The movement pattern, the behavior; that’s all consistent with a single animal. The cat’s quick movements might be fooling you. On average, if a cougar wants to, it can easily travel 15 to 20 miles in a night,” Robinson added.

“If the cougar is looking for a mate, Robinson said, he will not find it here. We don’t have any evidence to suggest that we have females or even a breeding population within Wisconsin, I don’t know when, but eventually he will move on.”

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