For the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) to suggest that lifelong rural residents are mistaking dogs and other common animals for black and tan lions is insulting.
Often these sightings have occurred with mere feet separating the animals and the witnesses.
The agency’s policy of denial also masks the fact that the DNR knows full well these cats exist and are here in numbers.
I believe state wildlife officials have live-trapped, electronically-collared and re-released into the wild both black and tan lion-like creatures.
I also must assume that, by now, the agency has discovered the genetic heritage of these cats (which may be a mixture of jaguar and cougar traits–hence the black species).
These lions are native to Wisconsin and have existed in this state for centuries. They are numerous and they are territorial, which helps to explain the increase in attacks on area livestock. Unless the DNR comes clean and informs the general public that large, dangerous predators are prowling our landscape, it’s only a matter of time before there are human casualties.
I’ve been collecting and publishing these reports for over 25 years. I am constantly asked by witnesses to explain the DNR’s treatment of their sightings.
Since the agency prefers to behave like a rogue branch of the CIA, I can only guess. I suspect the DNR would prefer not to pay for livestock damage. Since admitting the animals are here in numbers would cause them to become designated an endangered species (requiring woodland to be set aside), I presume the state’s timber industry is pressuring officials to prevent that from happening.
Whatever the reason, Wisconsin residents should not have to feel brow-beaten by the people whose salaries they pay.
I challenge members of this state’s media to do exactly what I have done: seek out witnesses, listen to their testimony, start a dialogue, and attempt to learn the extent of this phenomenon in our area and others.