6/17/12 – A new study confirms what Wisconsinites have known for awhile – that cougars are on the prowl again throughout the Midwest. The non-profit Cougar Network has identified 178 mountain lions that have roamed throughout the Midwest and as far south as Texas from 1990-to-2008. The reclusive predators were hunted to near extinction a century ago. And now that they’re making a comeback, researchers say it poses new questions about how people and farm animals can co-exist with the emerging cougars. Clay Nielsen of Southern Illinois University says it’s a great trend for those excited about living with large carnivores. But for those worried about livestock, Nielsen says there will be a quote, “division of the ranks in the Midwest.” And he says it will be interesting to see how the public responds if the colonizing continues. Sixty-seven of the confirmed Midwest cougars were spotted in Nebraska, and 31 in North Dakota. Wisconsin was listed as having single-digit tallies. The Badger State has had about a half-dozen – including one that attacked a dairy cow in Juneau County in 2010. The D-N-R said it was the first such cougar attack in Wisconsin since the 1800’s.