Increased cougar sightings 'a sign of a healthy environment,' expert says
WASHINGTON COUNTY, Wis. (WISN) -
The fact that more people are seeing cougars is "a bit worrisome," but should also be taken as a sign of a healthy ecology, according to David Fechter of the Shalom Wildlife Sanctuary.
Confirmed cougars sightings have recently occurred in Fond du Lac, Menomonee Falls, Brookfield and Colgate. While the sightings are "exciting," as he put it, Fechter said they're also a little unnerving as the animals appear to have lost their fear of humans.
"It's an animal that most people think is just a big kitty cat, but they're a very dangerous animal," he said Wednesday at the privately owned, federally licensed zoo that encompasses 100 acres in West Bend. "There are really only two animals in North America that will hunt humans and eat them. One is the polar bear and the other is a cougar."
Fechter said people shouldn't be afraid to go outside but should remain aware when outdoors, particularly with pets. An agitated pet could indicate there's a predator nearby.
Anyone who believes they may have spotted a cougar is encouraged to report the sighting using the large mammal observation form on the DNR's website.