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. Muneeb

    Hmmm... did the mountain lion travel 1500 miles or someone got him/her to connecticut in their car trunk

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

    Great job of protecting wildlife? It was killed by a car. Here in Florida where the number of Florida panthers continues to dwindle the largest hazard is cars. The state continues to claim that it is setting up a "wildlife corridor" through the center of the state for wildlife to travel and have a pristine environment, but any truly determined developer can swap land somewhere useless to build in the alledged corridor. Proof of this can we foun by googling :Ava Maria College or Ava Maria Village.

    July 27, 2011 at 4:52 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Laura

    I think it is of very poor taste to show a picture of this animal being gutted with a long knife. This was a sad story. Not cool with the picture, CNN.

    July 27, 2011 at 4:57 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Tom

    Clearly this animal is smart enough to know where to go for an easy meal. East coast lacks bigger predators and the deer know that so they often don't even run. He's smart but, ultimately, I guess he's just not street smart......pardon the pun.

    July 27, 2011 at 4:57 pm | Report abuse |
  5. bl

    I feel sorry for it. Being hit by a car is a painful way to die for anybody or anything.

    July 27, 2011 at 4:58 pm | Report abuse |
  6. LaRue

    He/She was looking for a blue state where people care about the environment and probably got hit by a Prius.

    July 27, 2011 at 4:59 pm | Report abuse |
  7. JB

    Like I am suppose to believe they did genetic testing out of pocket and that this is in fact the first mountain lion seen in 100yrs in that area. C'mon what's the cover up here. Do they(?) think people are that dumb...really?

    July 27, 2011 at 5:00 pm | Report abuse |
    • skeptic

      exactly...what this is, it's the first mountain lion in Connecticut to get hit by a car and make the news! lol

      July 27, 2011 at 5:05 pm | Report abuse |
    • dsavio

      Well, when you say things like this, yea it tends to make people think you're dumb.

      July 27, 2011 at 5:06 pm | Report abuse |
    • Wzrd1

      Why would they do genetic testing with out of pocket money when there are state wildlife conservation funds to be used just for this purpose?
      But, you're right. It's really the flying saucer space aliens that dropped the cat off in the wrong place, after shooting it with a photon torpedo, which knocked it into the moving car.

      July 27, 2011 at 5:20 pm | Report abuse |
    • nacoroco

      seriously – this guy thinks we're preserving and protecting the environment and biological diversity? what a moron – he must be on the government payroll

      July 27, 2011 at 5:26 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Ja

    how do they know he travelled that far? is it more realistic that someone took him the distance as a kitten and tried to domesticate the cat only to find out you cannot domesticate a wild animal? perhaps they gave up and let it go and then it got hit by a car. cats can go miles from home, but 1,500? please...

    July 27, 2011 at 5:02 pm | Report abuse |
    • Have Grammer will travel

      do you write fiction for a living?

      July 27, 2011 at 5:04 pm | Report abuse |
    • Ja

      do you live under a rock?

      July 27, 2011 at 5:05 pm | Report abuse |
    • Dennis

      They could have found evidence in his stomach
      which could indicate where his travels took him.

      July 27, 2011 at 5:14 pm | Report abuse |
    • Ja

      i live in Phoenix and when a coyote runs thru the outskirts, it attacks people and pets and people see the coyote. how a ML could go 1500 miles and not attack anyone and no one see the big cat trolling thru is a bit odd. it is not impossible, but odd.

      July 27, 2011 at 5:21 pm | Report abuse |
    • Keith


      In the article they specifically cite instances where a mountain lion was sighted between S. Dakota and CT, and where wildlife officials gathered stool, blood and hair at the sighting locations. They also say the DNA at those sightings was a match for this animal.

      July 27, 2011 at 5:31 pm | Report abuse |
    • oakhill3

      Actually, even though you have a couple naysayers answering you, your response is exactly what quite a number of us at work thought. It seemed much more realistic to imagine someone having transported it to Connecticut while young, than thinking it could have actually traveled 1500 hundred miles on its own and ended up there. And to the person who seemed to think that stomach contents would show what something ate a month ago . . . . .please.

      July 27, 2011 at 5:32 pm | Report abuse |
    • Ja

      my bad, thanks kieth for clearing that up.

      July 27, 2011 at 5:33 pm | Report abuse |
    • Keith


      No problem. I made a mistake though; they did not say all those sightings were conclusively from the same cat, just some of them in Minn & WI. Sorry

      July 27, 2011 at 5:38 pm | Report abuse |
  9. thedes1

    Best blog in Britain.check it out USA!

    July 27, 2011 at 5:05 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Mario

    My question is, how did he pay the cab driver for the long trip?

    July 27, 2011 at 5:07 pm | Report abuse |
  11. MH

    I live in Las Vegas NV and can safely say we have a huge cougar population. It tends to be rather unsafe to venture near their habitat without the fear of getting pounced upon. So be safe, avoid the local happy hours or any place playing music from the 80's.

    July 27, 2011 at 5:09 pm | Report abuse |
    • Karl

      Like (1)

      July 27, 2011 at 5:14 pm | Report abuse |
    • Dennis

      What are you worried about MH?
      Getting your rent paid.

      July 27, 2011 at 5:16 pm | Report abuse |
    • Cugahs

      That's the funniest thing I've heard all week. Love it.

      July 27, 2011 at 5:27 pm | Report abuse |
    • Keith

      Now that there is funny. I don't care who you are.

      July 27, 2011 at 5:33 pm | Report abuse |
  12. flower12

    MEAT IS MURDER YOU DISGUSTING SICKOS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    July 27, 2011 at 5:14 pm | Report abuse |
    • Mike

      No, meat is delicious...

      July 27, 2011 at 5:31 pm | Report abuse |
    • Keith



      July 27, 2011 at 6:11 pm | Report abuse |
  13. RedStapler

    How sad that such a beautiful creature struggling to survive ends up dead because it was hit by a car.

    July 27, 2011 at 5:14 pm | Report abuse |
    • KathyS

      Very sad indeed. Poor cat.

      July 27, 2011 at 5:28 pm | Report abuse |
    • Keith


      That's the real shame here. What beautiful cat.

      July 27, 2011 at 5:35 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Jackie

    How about not posting a photo like this, CNN? Would you post a dead human killed by a car? No. TY

    July 27, 2011 at 5:16 pm | Report abuse |
    • Sue

      I conpletely agree. This photo is unnecessary.

      July 27, 2011 at 5:33 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Jim in CT

    I live in Connecticut and this was a big story when it was hit on the Merritt Parkway. If you look at the story on the Hartford Courant's website (, they go into much more detail, including dna testing from hairs found in Wisconsin and Minnesota on its way east. It matched the mountain lion killed in CT. Additionally, the same mountain lion was spotted in Greenwich, CT a few days earlier, and dna test again proved it to be one and the same. This is an amazing story. Do some research before you blab ignorance. Too bad it was killed.

    July 27, 2011 at 5:16 pm | Report abuse |
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