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. garcia

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

    Or in the cat's case, get run over by a car after traveling 1,500 miles.

    July 27, 2011 at 2:05 pm | Report abuse |
  2. bang!

    Was the animal hit by a Jeep Grand Cherokee yuppie-mobile at 75 mph while the driver was texting someone and the kids in the back were watching a brainless video? Yes! We Americans have made great progress since clubbing the last Dodo bird to death. No, don't look up from your mindless media.

    July 27, 2011 at 2:06 pm | Report abuse |
    • BriVigilante

      Well said Bang!. Amen

      July 27, 2011 at 2:09 pm | Report abuse |
    • bobo

      I'm sure if a mountain lion sprinted in front of your car, you would magically pull some super-hero maneuver to avoid it.

      July 27, 2011 at 2:12 pm | Report abuse |
    • mikey

      Driver was probably leaving comments on a CNN blog or something.

      July 27, 2011 at 2:12 pm | Report abuse |
    • Burbank

      All due to overpopulation. We need to learn that "be fruitful and multiply" doesn't mean polluting the earth with too many humans until the entire world looks like Haiti. Otherwise that old Charleton Heston movie, Soylent Green, will come true and there will be nothing left other than eating each other to survive.

      July 27, 2011 at 2:12 pm | Report abuse |
    • Chris

      The dodo bird went extinct in the 1600's, genius. If you're going to act superior, try not to come off looking like a dipstick.

      July 27, 2011 at 2:14 pm | Report abuse |
    • lauradet

      A lot of white people praise progress and laugh at mud huts, so be careful.

      July 27, 2011 at 2:15 pm | Report abuse |
    • Steve

      Bang, you are a complete idiot, the Dodo bird was from Mauritius and went extict in 1681 (you may want to look at an atlas), America was founded in 1776....

      July 27, 2011 at 2:23 pm | Report abuse |
    • sciihs1958

      What a stupid animal!!!
      If he was meant to live he would had the sense not to run in front of a vehicle!
      And why does no one care about any injuries to the people in the car? Could there have been children that could have been injured by this ignorant animal running out in front of the vehicle?
      A Mountain Lion has NO business running loose on the roadways.

      July 27, 2011 at 3:15 pm | Report abuse |
    • Annie

      Goodness you people read into everything too much! Bangs point is that there are species gone due to the human race and population. sciihs1958, thats what seatbelts and airbags are for, and strangely enough, these strange things called accidents happen. They are sad, and tragic, but they happen. the tragic thing is there use to be Mountain Lions all over New England, and now they are all gone due to humans! yay human race, you will mess this planet up beyond repair!!

      July 27, 2011 at 4:01 pm | Report abuse |
    • Keith


      In addition to being in the wrong time frame for your assertion, Mauritius was the location of the Dodo, an island 500 miles east of Madagascar and controlled by the dutch I believe.

      July 27, 2011 at 7:13 pm | Report abuse |
  3. shmeckell

    I'd eat it.

    July 27, 2011 at 2:07 pm | Report abuse |
  4. laurie209

    It's sad, but man has encroached on animal freedom. This tradedy did show that the mountain lion was able to travel many miles as others may have done. This is an endangered species. Hopefully we can keep the mountiain lion amd many other endangered species alive and thriving.

    July 27, 2011 at 2:08 pm | Report abuse |
    • AaronAZ

      Uhhh, mountain lions are by no means endangered. In fact they are hunted for sport throughout the US in order to control populations due to decimation of deer, antelope and elk heards due to overpopulation of lions. In AZ, you can buy a mountain lion tag at Wal Mart for $25. Species of Pumas, such as subspecies in Florida and Mexico, are endangered but are different cats, although distant cousins.

      July 27, 2011 at 2:34 pm | Report abuse |
    • Matt

      Not sure where you get your info but Mt. Lions are very much thriving in the Western U.S. and it lloks like they are starting to move to the Northeast due to the abundance of food up there now.

      July 27, 2011 at 3:04 pm | Report abuse |
  5. cm

    Poor big kitty.

    July 27, 2011 at 2:09 pm | Report abuse |
    • Chris

      Poor big kitty would eat you.

      July 27, 2011 at 2:22 pm | Report abuse |
  6. bobo

    Apparently nobody on CNN forums has ever seen roadkill in their entire lives. That's pretty impressive, or pathetic, one.

    July 27, 2011 at 2:09 pm | Report abuse |
  7. MJ Shaw

    If you ate it you'd be sorely disappointed. Predator meat is not amendable to our palates.

    July 27, 2011 at 2:10 pm | Report abuse |
    • chitownphilly

      Yeah right, people eat lion all the time. Ever heard of exotic game meat? Well that includes these cats, not just Zebras and antelope!

      July 27, 2011 at 4:53 pm | Report abuse |
    • Have Grammer will travel

      I am not sure about that as I have been told that the apex predator, humans, have a very pleasant taste.

      July 27, 2011 at 4:57 pm | Report abuse |
    • popejon

      Because we are good and fat minus lean muscle content. Pre-McDonald's man probably did not taste so good...

      July 27, 2011 at 5:07 pm | Report abuse |
    • flower12

      MEAT IS MURDER SICKO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

      July 27, 2011 at 5:14 pm | Report abuse |
    • Have Grammer will travel

      It is probably George W Bush's fault.

      July 27, 2011 at 4:58 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jmar829

      What is "Grammer"?

      July 27, 2011 at 5:17 pm | Report abuse |
    • Dawn

      Or Obama's. Or the Tea Party's. Or God's.

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

      I've eaten Cougar and Bear. Both taste very good to MY pallet. I've also eaten Salmon (an ocean going predator), and many other fish species as well (Shark has a particular 'sweet' flavor to me though others find it's flavor to be different).

      So. While you might find the taste not suitable to your pallet, many of us Carnivores do.

      July 27, 2011 at 5:18 pm | Report abuse |
    • Tina

      I believe the word you're searching for is "palate." A pallet is made of wood.

      July 27, 2011 at 6:06 pm | Report abuse |
    • Keith

      Darn near anything is edible if you are hungry enough.

      By the way: NEVER eat polar bear liver, or a seal liver. They are toxic to most humans via sudden hypervitaminosis A – literally acute vitamin A poisoning. The Inuit know that; most whites are or I should say were ignorant of this.

      July 27, 2011 at 6:25 pm | Report abuse |
    • joe

      I have eaten a couple of mountain lions. They are white meat just like pork.

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

    What a shame. But was it really necessary to post a graphic picture of the poor creature?

    July 27, 2011 at 2:13 pm | Report abuse |
    • Caryn

      I agree, there is no need to show a picture like this. I think we all know what it means when the say the big cat was struck and killed. Dont we see enough of this stuff as it is?

      July 27, 2011 at 2:28 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Santo Giustiniano

    Was it necessary to post such a graphic picture of the poor creature?

    July 27, 2011 at 2:14 pm | Report abuse |
    • Russ

      It's called roadkill. It's not even that bad dude..

      July 27, 2011 at 2:15 pm | Report abuse |
    • Talon

      I think so Santo ~ It's a reminder of the vulnerability of animals simply trying to survive against the human and all our manufactured accompaniments

      July 27, 2011 at 2:34 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Knewton

    I'm suspecting this animal was someone's "pet" that got away or released when the owner couldn't care for it. It was probably trapped as a kitten in the Dakotas and sold on the black market to some weirdo who keeps exotics caged on their estate and it ate fluffy the poodle so they let it go. I'd have to imagine an animal that travelled that far would be more savvy about traffic.

    July 27, 2011 at 2:14 pm | Report abuse |
    • Tony

      Read the article fully before posting . It stated that they matched DNA from droppings, hair and blood found in several states leading from Dakota. So it did travel the distance, not transported and released.

      July 27, 2011 at 2:22 pm | Report abuse |
    • Russ

      Tony, his post makes perfect sense. DNA would still match if the cougar was TRAPPED from that population and transported to the east. That would not alter the cougar's DNA whatsoever.

      July 27, 2011 at 2:25 pm | Report abuse |
    • seemstomeguy

      seems to me, russ, that what you say still doesn't explain the matching DNA found across the country. unless the trappers stopped at rest stops along the way to give it potty breaks. now that would work.

      seems to me.

      July 27, 2011 at 5:55 pm | Report abuse |
  11. recheckfacts

    Why the reason for the migration? Is it because we are so great at protecting the environment or because the food supply was getting more scarce?

    July 27, 2011 at 2:15 pm | Report abuse |
    • mcgee

      Very Good point!!!!!!!

      July 27, 2011 at 2:24 pm | Report abuse |
  12. getoutofhixville

    The mountain lion left South Dakota because they are hunting the hell out of them there. They authorize 50 killings a year. If i were a mountain lion, i would be moving as far away from that redneck state as i could too

    July 27, 2011 at 2:15 pm | Report abuse |
  13. ZombieKiller2012

    Was it killed by a Mercury Cougar!

    July 27, 2011 at 2:15 pm | Report abuse |
    • ZombieKiller2012


      July 27, 2011 at 2:16 pm | Report abuse |
  14. HeadTax Chink

    VERY SAD ! !Government or HUmane Society USA should do more to protect these big cats, wolves etc.

    July 27, 2011 at 2:17 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Jane

    To travel all those miles and crossing several states in search of a mate only to be killed by a stupid car traveling too fast.

    July 27, 2011 at 2:17 pm | Report abuse |
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