Officials: Mountain lion traveled from South Dakota to Connecticut
Connecticut officials prepare the mountain lion for a necropsy. A car struck the animal in Milford, Connecticut, in June.
July 27th, 2011
10:18 AM ET

Officials: Mountain lion traveled from South Dakota to Connecticut

The first wild mountain lion confirmed in Connecticut in 100 years traveled to the northeastern state from the Black Hills of South Dakota, Connecticut officials say.

The mountain lion was killed when a car struck it in Milford, Connecticut, on June 11. The Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection said genetic tests proved the animal's origin. Connecticut has no native population of mountain lions.

"This mountain lion traveled a distance of more than 1,500 miles from its original home in South Dakota - representing one of the longest movements ever recorded for a land mammal and nearly double the distance ever recorded for a dispersing mountain lion," agency Commissioner Daniel C. Esty said in a news release.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture's Forest Service Wildlife Genetic Laboratory in Missoula, Montana, matched DNA taken from droppings, blood and hair found at the location of mountain lion sightings in Minnesota and Wisconsin in 2009 and 2010 with DNA taken from the Milford animal, Connecticut authorities reported. Other mountain lion sightings in Minnesota and Wisconsin as well as Michigan are believed to be of the same animal, authorities said.

Despite the mountain lion's death, Esty said it was evidence of progress in protecting the environment.

“A wild mountain lion traveling through our state is certainly an anomaly,” he said in the release. “It is, however, a strong symbol of what we all hope for - that wilderness areas and biological diversity can be preserved and protected.  Thankfully, through the hard work and dedication of conservationists, wildlife experts and everyone who cares about our environment and natural resources our state and nation have made great progress in achieving this goal.”
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Filed under: Animals • Connecticut • Mountain lions • South Dakota
soundoff (457 Responses)
  1. k13

    To everyone that are complaining about homeless people, but don't forget that we are all connected. It may seem as one big cliché, but still its true. Don't forget, if the bees die out, so will we. Maybe not today, maybe not tomorrow... but when flowers aren't pollenated, crops stop growing, and eventually we, us technologically, socially and so-called morally developed Humans, we, us, you will all feel the effect of a simple, seemingly insignificant insect called the bee. So yes, a mountain Lion being hit by a car is a tragedy, since now there is one less cat out there in the wild. A car can easily be replaced, with money.. but the dodo bird is gone forever... (its a metaphor)

    July 27, 2011 at 4:24 pm | Report abuse |
    • Have Grammer will travel!

      is complaning is not are
      do some research on just exactly a metaphor is (is not are )
      get a book on punctuation

      July 27, 2011 at 4:27 pm | Report abuse |
    • k13

      True is instead of are, I'll give you that one. Metaphor: A metaphor is a literary figure of speech that uses an image, story or tangible thing to represent a less tangible thing or some intangible quality or idea; e.g., "Her eyes were glistening jewels". Metaphor may also be used for any rhetorical figures of speech that achieve their effects via association, comparison or resemblance....
      And then you have the check to write: get a book on punctuation...? Where are the capital letters? The full stops? The exclamation marks? Practice what you preach darlin'....

      July 27, 2011 at 4:33 pm | Report abuse |
    • k13


      July 27, 2011 at 4:34 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jason

      @Grammer.... it is spelled Grammar.

      July 27, 2011 at 4:50 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Uh

    Seriously? "man gravy", huh?

    July 27, 2011 at 4:27 pm | Report abuse |
  3. 2/8

    Poor little (huge) guy.....

    July 27, 2011 at 4:31 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Me

    That's a shame, such a beautiful animal

    July 27, 2011 at 4:33 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Mike

    These big cats are magnificent. And more ned to be done to protect them.

    July 27, 2011 at 4:35 pm | Report abuse |
    • Chris

      Okaley-dokaley neighborino, I'll get right on it.

      July 27, 2011 at 4:45 pm | Report abuse |
  6. loraxguy/SD

    We have plenty and we will share them with you

    July 27, 2011 at 4:36 pm | Report abuse |
  7. lins

    what it tells me is that thsi animal had to travel 1500 miles for food and protection. it says his own habitant coudl not be lived in – not that we are doing a great job at conservation – but hte exact opposite – we suck at it.

    July 27, 2011 at 4:38 pm | Report abuse |
    • Chris

      Are you stupid? South Dakota – miles of empty wilderness, very low human population. Connecticut – can't walk half a mile without ending up in someone's back yard, fourth-highest population density in the country.

      If anything, he went from an ideal habitat to a very sub-par one.

      July 27, 2011 at 4:46 pm | Report abuse |
    • Toutle Girl

      On the contrary... It's that there are too may lions in SD's wilderness areas and that this one struck out to find a new home.

      July 27, 2011 at 4:48 pm | Report abuse |
    • Brian

      Or, that there was just something in the mountain lion's brain that compelled it to make a trip like that. Whales beach themselves in the same places, repeatedly, and it's unlikely because they believe dry land will provide better opportunities. The more interesting question is what the poor animal would have done had it reached the coast.

      July 27, 2011 at 4:49 pm | Report abuse |
    • rik

      lins... Its own habitat could not be lived in?
      Have you ever even been to South Dakota?
      Quit being such a reactionary. Your idiocy is showning.

      July 27, 2011 at 4:50 pm | Report abuse |
    • Henry

      May be It wasn't really a migrant cougar.... I was working in Chicago in a meat company with a lot of livstock on a cargo train. One day I saw a big feline traveling on the top of the train waiting for his chance to catch a lamb there! When I reported that to my boss and friends, they never belived me but after 2 days, another worker saw the same big cat. Sometimes people have indirectly caused the migration of the animals.

      July 27, 2011 at 4:53 pm | Report abuse |
    • scott

      Im with lins on this one. All we humans know how to do is take land and destroy things. We can try to pat ourselves on the back and say we are doing charitable things but at the end of the day it all boils down to one thing.... greed.

      July 27, 2011 at 4:56 pm | Report abuse |
    • GregD

      A mountain lion cannot travel 1500 miles in a weakened state, looking for food. I live in Arizona, which is supposed to hold one of the largest mountain lion populations in the lower 48, but Game and Fish officials from AZ (and probably many other states) say they really don't know how many lions live in the state. The science is weak on tracking lion populations. But it is amazing for a large cat make it that far east. More amazing than the Jaguar's making into AZ's southeast corner from Mexico. I hope mountain lions continue to spread east and reclaim old hunting grounds. Might reduce east coast deer populations (as well as a few cats and dogs).

      July 27, 2011 at 5:02 pm | Report abuse |
  8. sasha

    not surprised. Up here in eastern canada we have a small but thriving cougar population but to hear the goverment depts say it, we have no cougars in eastern canada. But when you have seen it with your own eyes its there. They gov said they want us to go into the bush and find physical evidence before they will change their story. So I don't know about yall but I don't want to die trying to hunt a known predator

    July 27, 2011 at 4:38 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Morgan Lloyd Sr.

    It's obvious. The lion was trying to upscale his surroundings and was thwarted by the local constuble. Egads. From dakota to Connecticutt is a far journey. I have no doubt he had help. Or perhaps he hitchhiked.

    July 27, 2011 at 4:39 pm | Report abuse |
    • Nichole

      He was deffinately hitchhiking, I picked him up just outside ohio. He said he was headed to the Hamptons to a friends house for a little R&R.

      July 27, 2011 at 4:56 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Mitch

    It's a government cover up. I used to work for the AMC in NW Connecticut where we regularly received credible reports of mountain lion sightings, to include from a staff member at close range. The government does not want to fund any kind of protection program as they have thought to have been exterminated and if a population existed they would fall under the endangered species act.

    July 27, 2011 at 4:39 pm | Report abuse |
    • John

      Mitch is right on with this..... a number of states in the northeast want to reintroduce wolves, but the discovery that the eastern mountain lion is not actually extinct would throw a serious wrench in the works.

      July 27, 2011 at 5:05 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Lesley

    I saw this beautiful animal one night in Monterey ,Massachusetts ,he just loped across the road in two leaps and disappeared ,going south to the lake .It was a full moon night ,I was so sorry to hear he was killed .No wonder my dogs bark at night...all kinds of widlife out there .

    July 27, 2011 at 4:40 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Jay Oh

    the forrest gump of cats and he had to go out like this

    July 27, 2011 at 4:41 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Alisha

    “It is, however, a strong symbol of what we all hope for – that wilderness areas and biological diversity can be preserved and protected...”

    It was protected, ... to be killed by a car.

    July 27, 2011 at 4:42 pm | Report abuse |
  14. joe momma

    liberal tree huggers. conservationists have nothing to do with this. the mountain lion probably was fleeing it's natural environment because it was being torn down. how do we even know it traveled from South Dakota?

    July 27, 2011 at 4:44 pm | Report abuse |
    • chitownphilly

      Please read the article before asking the dumbest question ever.

      July 27, 2011 at 4:52 pm | Report abuse |
    • Yellowknife

      Did you even read the article? Or is reading just a part of the liberal tree-hugging agenda?

      July 27, 2011 at 4:55 pm | Report abuse |
  15. me

    is it really neccessary to show a picture of the poor creature after being killed?

    July 27, 2011 at 4:46 pm | Report abuse |
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