Illinois is Seeing More Black Bear, Cougar and Wolf Sightings

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BYRON (WIFR) -- The University of Illinois extension service is educating people on why they might be experiencing more encounters with black bears, cougars and wolves.

The large predator program presented at the Byron Forest Preserve was started after the state began to see more frequent encounters of the animals who are entering the states from different directions.

Samples of prints were available so people can spot out when these predators are around. The state hopes that people become educated on how to help manage these animals if they decide to stick around.

"They're trying to survive so they're moving into areas because of the pressures of their own current environments to get out because they're expanding their range due to the population of them in the northern parts of the states like the black hills for the cougars, Wisconsin for the wolves, the black bears are mostly Missouri and Wisconsin, " said Environmental & Energy Stewardship Educator Peggy Doty.

As of the first of this year it is now illegal to hunt the cougars, timber wolves or black bears in the state of Illinois.

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