Illinois Dept. of Natural Resources (IDNR)

The Illinois Dept. of Natural Resources wants to add black bears, gray wolves and cougars to the state's list of protected species. But there is disagreement on how much protection should be given when there is a safety concern.

On November 20, 2013, a family near Morrison, Ill. asked state conservation police officers to kill a cougar found hiding under a building on their land.

Illinois Dept. of Natural Resources (IDNR)

Dept. of Natural Resources employees have discussed adding cougars to the list of protected species in Illinois.

But in a phone interview with WUIS, IDNR spokesman Tim Schweizer said currently "it’s up to the landowner” to decide whether a potentially threatening animal should be put down.  

That's what transpired Wednesday near Morrison, Ill., when a woman and her husband reportedly spotted the large male cougar hiding under their corn crib and asked Conservation Police to dispatch the cat.

Cougars in Illinois? Felis concolor dwells here again

Jul 1, 2004

Democratic governors came back to Illinois — why not cougars? Officially, Illinois has no wild cougars; the cougar is not listed as an endangered species in Illinois for the simple reason that a species can’t be endangered if it doesn’t exist. Donald Hoffmeister, former director of the University of Illinois’ Museum of Natural History, who authored what amounts to the Debrett’s of Illinois mammalia, reports that cougars were probably exterminated in Illinois before 1870. Today the only cougars in Illinois are kept in zoos and in people’s homes, illegally, as pets.