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. dennyden

    This saddens me (hopeless animal lover, he/she traveled (making history it seems) all that way for what? To be killed painfully...

    July 27, 2011 at 2:19 pm | Report abuse |
    • bobo

      as opposed to killed by starvation? exhaustion? what have you? You act as if it was trying to make it to Connecticut, like it was its destination. The cat probably wouldve kept walking until it died of exhaustion anyway and would've led a miserable life with no other mountain lions around. I love animals, but I also understand reality. What happened sucks, but you should be glad it even made it as far as it did, since that matters to you for some reason.

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

      i'm with you on that.

      i don't like to see any creature hurt...and my vegan heart breaks for animals. soft spot for the guys. : (

      July 27, 2011 at 2:29 pm | Report abuse |
  2. captainhurt

    ROCK ON! any animal protection agencies ! sea sheperd, greenpeace, aspca, humane society, AND peta. ROCK ON!

    the logic of promoting "hunting to reduce overpopulation and suffering" is not accurate nor consistent with other behaviors. Unlike "handouts to poor african families" who exponentially outbreed their resources,
    animal populations will auto-adjust populations based on environment. Occassionaly, a drought or human endeavor will impact food/land supply, but you cant pick/choose the victims by shooting em.
    2nd example, humans generally find it illegal AND immoral to shoot indians or afrikaners or (pregnant welfare recipients) cuz they breed way too fast.

    July 27, 2011 at 2:21 pm | Report abuse |
  3. shmeckell

    When I eat um that big I’m in no shape to remember the next morning anyways.

    July 27, 2011 at 2:21 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Cateyes7

    I don't think they can be sure that this animal came from South Dakota on its own. Perhaps it was someone's pet or someone's idea of a joke to release it in Connecticut.

    July 27, 2011 at 2:22 pm | Report abuse |
  5. ADK

    SO MUCH for no mountain lions in NY? Obviously, he crossed the state at SOME point!!

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

      seems to me he could have migrated through Canada.

      seems to me.

      July 27, 2011 at 5:57 pm | Report abuse |
  6. someone out there

    I am glad to finally see that people are on an animals side. As for showing the graphic picture of an animal, I agree that it should not be shown on the internet. Why is this ok, but been ladin (pun intended) will not be shown????

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

      Why are people so heII-bent on avoiding any graphic content in the news? Reality is graphic, people. Don't censor yourselves.

      July 27, 2011 at 2:24 pm | Report abuse |
    • collins61

      Because the lions followers will not revenge his death little girl.

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

      graphic? is that some kind of joke? what do you do if you're driving and there's a dead animal on the side of the road? cover your eyes?

      July 27, 2011 at 2:37 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Carole Clarke

    Sounds like it managed to avoid hunters but don't understand why it kept going all the way to Connecticut from the Dakotas – there are plenty of wild places before it even hit the Mississippi. These are creatures of the high places, ghosts you rarely see. But then we had a coyote sighting in the Wash DC area recently, standing up on top of a rolled haystack. Looks like the wild critters are spreading out, if we keep invading what wild places are left we may see them alot more often.

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

      If you ever lived any length of time in South Dakota you'd understand the the primal drive to start walking and keep on going till you either dropped or were forcibly stopped too.

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

      I could not have said that any better. People keep building house where they live so they come to where we live. We need more rules and reg. on where to build house's.

      July 27, 2011 at 2:40 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Anon

    I agree with Burbank. I think more people should be encouraged and rewarded by the government for not breeding vs the other way around. Sorry if this offends.

    July 27, 2011 at 2:25 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Hoofleau

    Sad story. Unfortunate for wildlife. No place to go. Humans are ruining it for wildlife and even themselves. Hey people, just keep on dropping those babies. Mandatory sterilization is the only answer to curb the human population. Have one kid and snip!

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

      Hoofleau – This is Connecticut... it's the fourth-densest state in the country, in terms of population. If they had caught it, they would've just shipped it out west to Colorado or something and released it there. They wouldn't leave a mountain lion running around the state to maul people. There are just too many people here.

      July 27, 2011 at 2:29 pm | Report abuse |
    • bobo

      While I agree that over-population is a problem. I don't think "snip snip" is any kind of good solution. So if so-and-so has a kid and said kid dies within 3 months, well TOO BAD... no kids at all for you.

      July 27, 2011 at 2:30 pm | Report abuse |
  10. CowgirlLife

    Captain Hurt...nobody shoots the people who over breed because that would be illegal and we'd be in jail. Nobody said we didn't want to though. I might not need all that venison in my freezer if all my hard earned money wasn’t supporting them but in the absence of a season for over breeding humans, that’s just the way it is..I hope this sounds as ridiculous as your post did to me.

    July 27, 2011 at 2:27 pm | Report abuse |
  11. gremlinus

    Actually I'm not sure that this story IS a testament to conservation efforts. If the cat was wandering that far it could also mean that its niche has been reduced or destroyed. Animals moving outside of their natural habitat is not always evidence of growth. There are other types of change.

    July 27, 2011 at 2:28 pm | Report abuse |
  12. JP

    How are we preserving wildlife if we are hitting them with our cars? I'm confused. This poor animal walked for months to get killed by us. That doens't sound like preserving wildlife. I know it was just an accident, but this article makes it sound like we're going through great lengths to save these animals. It's ridiculous.

    July 27, 2011 at 2:29 pm | Report abuse |
    • Matt

      Visit or call your local conservation biologist and all your questions will be answered. Its free to talk with them and they are more than happy to take the time to answer your questions. Otherwise don't try and form an opinion based on what you imagine.

      July 27, 2011 at 2:57 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Eduardz

    I believe the mountain lion left Dakota to get away from that state's stinking abortionists. It was probably carrying cubs.

    July 27, 2011 at 2:30 pm | Report abuse |
    • Kdog

      You are a d-bag. What a stupid polarizing post that has nothing to do with the topic at hand. Too bad your mother, assuming you had one, decided on going to term with you

      July 27, 2011 at 2:43 pm | Report abuse |
  14. giligan

    As long as humans kep taking away these wild animal's territory by building megamansions and cluster homes by the millions..these poor innocent animals will continue to look for anotehr place to live- that means roaming subdivisions and coming into contact with your pets (aka lunch)

    Wild animals like deer, bear, coyote and cougars follow the same routes that their predecessors took for hundreds of years- just because you put a condo there – doesn't mean they will adjust their path. This is inbred into their genes to follow these routes and search out new dens or places to live.

    We need to only buid on the minimum amount of space that we need and preserve more land for these wild animals. We ALL share this earth and we are not the end all be all of existance. We need all of these animals to keep the normal balance in nature.

    We reap what we sow.....

    July 27, 2011 at 2:31 pm | Report abuse |
    • john

      DON'T WORRY. THE HUMAN RACE WON'T BE AROUND MUCH LONGER AND THE ANIMALS WILL ROAM FREE AGAIN.

      July 27, 2011 at 2:34 pm | Report abuse |
    • sciihs1958

      So why don't you 'off' yourself and make room for the animals?

      July 27, 2011 at 3:41 pm | Report abuse |
  15. VVGal

    Bottom line is this.. If we humans would stop developing and leave nature as it was intended, more majestic creatures like this mountain lion would be around. Also, the authorization of hunting animals like these mountain lions and wolves makes me want to vomit. Animals were on this earth LONG before humans, and they should be treated with the respect they deserve.

    July 27, 2011 at 2:31 pm | Report abuse |
    • Dolt Patrol

      I'm sorry, but when I read comments like this I throw up a little. Would you love this cuddly 'majestic' creature if it was clawing the skin off your face and eating your skull? Sure, looking at picture books and cartoons of this animal is jovial to say the least! That does NOT mean they're friendly. Come back after you've been mauled to near death and share your bubbly outlook on this 'majestic' creature.. oh god..

      July 27, 2011 at 2:43 pm | Report abuse |
    • JMMAM

      Hey Dolt...I don't think that was the point. Each living creature has a reason to be on this earth and we are killing them b/c of our superficial needs. These creatures would not be in our subdivisions to claw our eyes out if we would stop taking every single piece of land available for our use. We keep tearing down land to build more subdivisions when there are empty houses sitting in subdivisions everywhere. The end doesn't justify the means. Ridiculous. I much rather see wooded land then concrete any day.

      July 27, 2011 at 2:54 pm | Report abuse |
    • Mother Nature

      You have my permission to hun these creatures to control population. Side note: Mt. Lion is pretty tasty

      July 27, 2011 at 3:00 pm | Report abuse |
    • Dolt Patrol

      Hey JMMAMM: I was responding to VVGAL's comment. I was on point completely. VVGAL mentioned that hunting these animals makes him/her puke. I could care less if you want to be a hippy and hug tree's all day. Go do it. I'm sick of hearing pathetic crying from individuals who buy into industrial progression on a DAILY basis. Whine and complain while you support the companies that construct the burb's you speak of. Most animal attacks on humans occur in remote, secluded areas; not in your driveway. Take that organic granola bar you're probably eating and shove it.

      July 27, 2011 at 3:46 pm | Report abuse |
    • SDN

      Doltpatrol: Check the mirror.

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