Most people want to believe there’s a breeding population of mountain lions spreading through parts of Connecticut and into New York’s Hudson Valley.
People root for this to be the case. We want to believe that where we live is not completely tame – that there’s a whiff of wildness and mystery to boring old Connecticut. And what could be wilder and more mysterious than mountain lions?
If you’re a Connecticut mountain lion believer, you’re not alone. I’ve been poking around, off and on, for more than a decade, and it’s pretty easy to find people who think they’ve seen a cougar in Winsted or Litchfield.
In the past two weeks, mountain lion fever reached a new high. People saw a mountain lion in Greenwich. Then a motorist hit and killed one in Milford. Escaped pets? A native population? a Hybrid of the two?
Kim DaVino-Garcia believes what she saw was a mountain lion. It was early August when a large, tawny-colored cat with a long tail crept into the pasture where she keeps a half-dozen horses off Newcomb Road in Goshen.
Last year I reported on an email hoax titled, “Here Kitty, Kitty” which purportedly showed a mountain lion looking through a glass door in Simsbury. That email was in fact a hoax.
Last week I met with Bo Ottmann, the founder of a local organization called Cougars of the Valley. Bo is convinced that Mountain Lions are established and do exist in Connecticut and he is out to prove it. Bo is soliciting the public and offering a $50.00 reward to anyone who photographs a mountain lion with an identifiable Connecticut landscape.
In an article titled “Connecticut Cougars: State Biologist Insist there Aren’t Any Despite Many Reported Sighting” published by the Hartford Courant last January, staff writer Steve Grant explores the possibility. A more recent article titled, “Mountain Lions in Connecticut” written by Brigitte Ruthman and published in the Republican American also explores the possibility that Mountain Lions do exist in Connecticut. Both articles include interviews from Connecticut State Biologist Paul Rego, who adamantly denies the possibility of Mountain Lions in Connecticut and Bo Ottmann who insist that they do inhabit Connecticut.