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. momo

    poor thing. RIP Mountain lion.

    July 27, 2011 at 5:19 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Rupert

    Pretty obvious why he migrated. Have you seen South Dakota? There aren't any cougars there. Probably trying to get to Greenwich or Bridgeport to find cougars in downtown bars. A sad tale of love indeed.

    July 27, 2011 at 5:20 pm | Report abuse |
  3. trish

    Hey, will you guys visit HelpFaye.ORG a friend of mine is fighting for her life.... Thanks

    July 27, 2011 at 5:20 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Felix

    “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.”

    what a bunch of crap!!!.

    So, the cougar just decided to go on a 1,500 mile sight-seeing tour? If it's natural habitat in SD had been sufficeint – he would have stayed put within his natural range. Instead, to find food he had to travel and once out of SD, urban sprawl kept him running. I hardly think it was an enjoyable journey.

    July 27, 2011 at 5:24 pm | Report abuse |
    • Keith

      It wasn't food that was the problem. It's territory.

      House cats are not that differentiated from the Big Cats, not nearly as much so as dogs are from wolves and their prehistoric predecessor.

      Even with plenty of food, big cats (like little cats) want a territory they and they alone control.

      July 27, 2011 at 5:45 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Keith

    @Grammer, what Jason said above: it is spelled grammar.

    I will pardon you for that and for your lack of understanding the various dialects of southern languages.

    Know-nothing: they don't know anything germane to the subject.

    No-nothing: of zero consequence, no-count.

    @I love to kill animals

    "....so Kieth... how long do they let you use the computer at the library?"

    Long enough to know how to spell a name when it is written in front of you.

    July 27, 2011 at 5:24 pm | Report abuse |
  6. gung hoe

    Hey conexes I hope ive spelled your name properly so you know that im talking to you and anybody that thinks as you do To say animals dont have souls is completly assinine What have you never had more than one pet and noticed that no two animals are the same and just what is it that controls your actions Its your soul so to say animals dont have a soul shows your Iq factor must be about the same as the number of fingers you have

    July 27, 2011 at 5:26 pm | Report abuse |
    • Keith

      @gung hoe

      100 percent agree and Semper Fi. If someone wants to contend animals don't have souls, let them first prove to me that THEY the human who contends this has a soul.

      If God created all this life on earth, it is just fundamental human arrogance to think such a being would not care for the least field mouse any less than the most exalted human.

      My ladylove and I have five stray cats (had six, but he died of cancer) and each and everyone of them is totally unique. I think the best evidence for a soul is capacity to love. All our cats have souls.

      July 27, 2011 at 5:56 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Murdemer Schnikleberry

    The mountain lion was a rolling stone, wherever he laid his hat he called home.

    July 27, 2011 at 5:28 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Richard

    Yes, and "PEOPLE" across the country! Should "QUIT TEXTING AND TALKING ON THERE F–KING CELL PHONE!
    I witness more and more wild life being KILLED! Because drivers are talking on there cell phones or texting! IT IS AGAINST THE LAW! YOU STILL DON'T GET IT!! UNTIL YOU KILL SOMEONE YOU CARE ABOUT! BECAUSE OF TALKING ON THOSE F–KING DEVICES!

    July 27, 2011 at 5:30 pm | Report abuse |
    • Dawn

      Hmmm...most wildlife gets run over by a car because it RUNS OUT in FRONT of the car, not giving the vehicle the time or distance to stop safely.

      July 27, 2011 at 6:01 pm | Report abuse |
    • Tina

      Gee, I guess I missed the part in the article that said the driver of the car was texting. (I do agree with you though, that people should NOT text and drive.)

      July 27, 2011 at 6:04 pm | Report abuse |
    • Moe

      I get it – I drive so defensively these days as there is always someone obviously with a phone in their ear – crossing the line or weaving around.............I'm sick of it!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

      July 27, 2011 at 6:12 pm | Report abuse |
  9. nacoroco

    seriously, this guy thinks we're preserving and protecting biological species and the environment? he should think again (he must be on the government payroll)

    July 27, 2011 at 5:33 pm | Report abuse |
  10. reality check

    When strolling in the woods, watch your back. Chances are it didn't travel alone. Cat's are pack animals.

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

      Actually, cats are not pack animals. You're thinking of wolves.

      However, I do agree that they are more widespread than anyone wants to admit.

      July 27, 2011 at 5:41 pm | Report abuse |
    • Right...

      Actually, no, that's exactly the opposite of correct.

      July 27, 2011 at 5:42 pm | Report abuse |
    • Amanda

      Mountain Lions are not social creatures. They don't travel in packs. Please research before coming on here and sounding like an idiot.

      August 8, 2011 at 9:25 am | Report abuse |
  11. Pauline

    How very sad. What a lovely animal. It is back with it's Creator now. Rest in peace little furry friend.

    July 27, 2011 at 5:34 pm | Report abuse |
    • CJinPhilly

      Ditto. So sad he travelled all that way to get hit by some idiot going too fast or texting or talking.

      July 27, 2011 at 5:37 pm | Report abuse |
    • Anonymous

      We saw this cat in Minnesota. I've never seen a wild animal run so fast across 4 lanes of highway US 212 before. It was truly impressive. Yes, RIP.

      July 27, 2011 at 5:46 pm | Report abuse |
    • spike

      it's parents are probably still back in s. dakota

      July 27, 2011 at 8:04 pm | Report abuse |
    • Sunnysideup

      Poor mountain lion at least it got to travel and see life. I don't like this picture though. Not fond of seeing pictures of dead animals' faces. We wouldn't show pictures of a dead human's face so why a mountain lion's?. Bleh!

      July 27, 2011 at 10:48 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Moe

    The state of CT keeps trying to convince people that there are no Mountain Lions here -- bull____ So many people....credible people keep seeing them so – DEP of CT – more people believe in Mountain Lions than they will ever believe in you!!!!

    July 27, 2011 at 6:08 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Shill

    How sad this animal had to KEEP going and going just looking for a territory to call home. i agree with nacoroco
    How can we possibly think we are Protecting our wildlife, if our wildlife has to struggle as he did to stay alive. I am sure the species maybe somewhat nomadic, but SD to CT, jeez what a treck. RIP. Oh yea, HOPE YOUR NOT READING THIS FROM YOUR CELL PHONE

    July 27, 2011 at 6:16 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Keith

    @Annie

    He or she who makes an assertion will need to back it up, otherwise it is an opinion and everyone has those along with another part; sometimes they both smell as bad.

    July 27, 2011 at 7:15 pm | Report abuse |
  15. jessicaber

    He is beautiful.

    July 27, 2011 at 9:46 pm | Report abuse |
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