Connecticut mountain lion ‘crossed US’ before death

Original article on BBC
See video of the report and more links below.

A mountain lion killed on a road in the US state of Connecticut had walked halfway across the US before it died in June, scientists have said.

DNA tests showed the cat was native to the Black Hills of South Dakota, 1,800 miles (2,896km) away, scientists said.

And its DNA matched that of an animal collected by chance in 2009 and 2010 in the states of Minnesota and Wisconsin.

The evidence suggests the cat had made the longest-ever recorded journey of a land mammal, scientists say.

The mountain lion, also known as a cougar or a puma, is a type of big cat native to the Americas.

The species once ranged widely, from British Columbia in Canada to Argentina and Chile, and from the Pacific Ocean to the Atlantic, but its habitat in North America is now mostly limited to the western US and Canada, according to the US Fish and Wildlife Service, a government agency dedicated to the management of fish, wildlife and habitats.

Epic journey

When it was struck by a car and killed in June in Milford, Connecticut, about 50 miles north-east of New York City, the young, lean, 140lb (64kg) male became the first mountain lion seen in that state in more than a century, said Daniel Esty, commissioner of the state’s Department of Energy and Environmental Protection.

“The journey of this mountain lion is a testament to the wonders of nature and the tenacity and adaptability of this species,” Mr Esty said

The continental crossing from South Dakota to Connecticut put the cat on a path south around Lake Michigan, passed Chicago, the old industrial “rust belt” cities of Ohio and western Pennsylvania and north of New York City.

According to scientists with the US Department of Agriculture, DNA taken from the mountain lion showed its genetic structure matched a population of cats native to the sparsely populated Black Hills region of South Dakota.

The DNA also matched samples taken from hair and blood in Minnesota, directly east of South Dakota, and Wisconsin, which neighbours that state to the east, in late 2009 to early 2010.

On 5 June, the lion was seen at a school in Greenwich, Connecticut. It was struck and killed on 11 June about 01:00 local time.

In addition, scientists said the cat was neither declawed nor neutered, suggesting it was not an escaped or released captive.

Related links:

DEP: Genetic Testing Reveals Mountain Lion Killed in Milford Originated in South Dakota – ct.gov/dep

Milford mountain lion came from South Dakota, possibly by way of Canada – ctpostchronicle.com

DEEP: Mountain Lion Killed In Milford Was From South Dakota – courant.com

Mountain lion traveled 1500 miles to CT – News8 – wtnh.com.com

Biologists say don’t get too excited about other sightings.

“We have no evidence of a population besides this single individual, we received a number of calls and sightings, but have no evidence of other mountain lions in Connecticut at this time,” said Rego.

Mountain lions in Connecticut? – REPUBLICAN-AMERICAN

State says no, but hundreds say they’ve seen them

BY BRIGITTE RUTHMAN | REPUBLICAN-AMERICAN

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.

She believes what she heard — a piercing shriek in advance of the attack which left a 16-hand quarter horse, Bandit, with deep gouges on its neck and hindquarters.
Continue reading “Mountain lions in Connecticut? – REPUBLICAN-AMERICAN”

Cougars of the Valley on FarmingtonValley.Net

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.

Continue…