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. john


    July 27, 2011 at 2:32 pm | Report abuse |
  2. longtooth

    We have coyotes in Boston. I have a friend who swears he saw a mountain lion in New Hampshire. Look out, dudes. Mother Nature is taking it all back!

    July 27, 2011 at 2:33 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Don

    It would be far more logical to conclude that this cougar arrived in Connecticut through human intervention rather than having "wandered" 1500 miles.

    July 27, 2011 at 2:34 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Right

    That's what we all hope for, of course, more mountain lions in our backyards. Keep 'em out west.

    July 27, 2011 at 2:37 pm | Report abuse |

    I also agree with what 'gremlinus' said.

    It is so sad to see this creature killed like that. Though I personally would not be brave enough to
    pet a wild mountain lion, it really gets me depressed when they are killed.

    It's all due to American's insane car culture, where every freaking person wants to have a car and drive it
    fast. I say that that the day should come when private cars are banned, and the only people allowed to
    have cars are police, fire department, and other very important people, – not everyone on this freakin' Earth.

    There's too much car congestion as it is; Even the middle-class neighborhoods are now PACKED with too many
    cars. The days of breeding out kids and then rewarding them with cars are over. #@! Grrrr!

    July 27, 2011 at 2:38 pm | Report abuse |
    • Chris

      Okay, you can give me a piggy-back ride to work every day. Oh, it's 30 miles each way, btw.

      July 27, 2011 at 2:40 pm | Report abuse |
    • Marv

      yeah, relax. I drive my car responsibly. animals get hit all the time crossing at night (or even the day). take your meds.

      July 27, 2011 at 2:41 pm | Report abuse |
    • A

      So in your car-free utopia, how do you propose people that live in rural areas get into town to buy groceries? Do you really think public transportation can be cost-effectively developed in, say, Cherry County, Nebraska?

      Presumably you yourself do not own, nor never drive or ride in, a car and therefore must live somewhere that is easy to either take public transportation or are near everything you need. The US is just too big and sprawling to completely ban cars. Improve public transport? Sure. Ban cars? What an insane rambling.

      July 27, 2011 at 2:44 pm | Report abuse |

      Wow, you really need to get a grip on reality. I never read in the article, or anywhere else on this subject, that the driver of the vehicle that hit the mountain lion was going fast or speeding. I also have to say, I'd rather it be dead then in my backyard where my kids play.

      July 27, 2011 at 2:45 pm | Report abuse |
    • Duex

      Well if we could all fly like fairies like you that would be fine but we can not

      July 27, 2011 at 2:48 pm | Report abuse |
    • Bob

      If you really believe the things that you just typed, then you must be Mentally Retarded. If there were no cars, then the world would go into a Very Deep Depression. Most of the world depends on these things for a living. YOU ARE AN IDIOT!

      July 27, 2011 at 2:49 pm | Report abuse |
    • Wow

      That is just plain crazy. No cars for anyone? You must be one of the Congressional Reps, because you make zero sense. Thats like banning food because of fat people.

      July 27, 2011 at 2:49 pm | Report abuse |
    • Joe

      Although I don't agree with your Car hatred I will defend you a little form others. First, the car culture is why you live 30 miles from work, with no cars you would adapt by moving. Second, people in rural areas getting groceries, well have a farm or live in the city, again the reason you live far from civilization is because of the Car culture. Third, we as a species survived for quite a while without cars, I don't think they are a necessity to live.

      July 27, 2011 at 2:51 pm | Report abuse |
    • Freshies

      CAR_HATER, you are an ignorant american bread to think the wild animals are going to kill you and your kids. Look up the stats on mountain lion attacks but you would probably just rather kill them all then try to inform yourself on how they aren't really a threat at all.

      July 27, 2011 at 2:51 pm | Report abuse |
    • dike

      There are many ways around this problem, Now compared to all the cuts we are having this will be low on the priority list.

      July 27, 2011 at 2:53 pm | Report abuse |
    • Mark

      You definitely hate your life 🙂

      July 27, 2011 at 2:55 pm | Report abuse |

      @Joe Seriously, think of what it would be like if we all had to live close to our jobs. Suburbia may have been made easier by cars, but it had to happen at some point with this growth in population. Imagine if you will how much bigger New York or L.A. would be if you had to consolidate everyone from the surrounding suburbs. Seattle would be two million plus. Imagine the pollution and the hospital overcrowding and the sewage issues. Thank Goodness for sprawl and suburbia.

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

      @Freshies Well, it was meant in jest, but I wouldn't expect you to understand that. Do you know what jest means or do I have to explain that to you as well.

      July 27, 2011 at 2:59 pm | Report abuse |
    • TesseractJ

      I think you have a good thought there. It needs more work for it to be applicable to the US at large.

      Cars could easily be banned in cities. I have never needed a car to get to work, get groceries or visit a near city friend. Some form of special cab service would still be needed for hot or cold days when people with illness, pets or babies need transport.

      Outside of cities there could be a reduction in cars. More public buses would be useful in suburbs but useless in rural settings. Bikes can handle some level of transportation but if you have 25 miles to go to a grocery store it is not reasonable. If you have little kids it is also unreasonable.

      It is likely that we could get more than half of the cars in the US off the road with careful planning and government assistance. This will not happen. The government can't give us reasonable health care let alone a complex and revamped public transportation.

      So. . . while you have a good thought it will not happen.

      July 27, 2011 at 3:07 pm | Report abuse |
    • nope

      You're a crackhead. Please, please do not have children.

      July 27, 2011 at 3:09 pm | Report abuse |
    • Chris

      No, I live 30 miles from where I work because I live in Connecticut. Have you ever been to a city in Connecticut? No sane person would want to live where the jobs are here. All our cities are crime-ridden garbage heaps. The suburbs are nice 🙂

      July 27, 2011 at 3:09 pm | Report abuse |
    • Rob

      Dude, seriously... it's 10 mi one way to work, and 15 mi one way to an actual grocery store. It's nice that you think I shouldn't drive my car so that mountain lions will be safe, but it's absolutely idiotic to place the needs of humans above the life of one wayward cat. Sad it died, but why punish me? I didn't even know the beast...

      July 27, 2011 at 3:10 pm | Report abuse |
    • Din,

      Ok CAR_HATER, don't you know that everyone is very important people, that's including you. So what you're saying?. You should agreed with me that you are very important person just like the rest of us on this planet.

      July 27, 2011 at 3:17 pm | Report abuse |
    • Pleasantly.Yours

      The original poster is definitely correct that cars aren't necessary. Several of my coworkers and myself live in a rural area and ride our bikes to and from work up to 20 miles each day. As a result we feel great and are in great shape.

      However, vehicles are a part of our culture in both positive and negative ways. Perhaps it would be prudent of us to show temperance in our words and actions regardless of the opinions we possess.

      July 27, 2011 at 3:18 pm | Report abuse |

      @Pleasantly.yours Where I live bicyclists seem to get hit almost once a day. A lot of that is because they don't obey the laws. I think bicycling to work is cool, but, percentage wise, there are as many mackerel heads riding bikes as there are driving cars. Fortunately when a bicyclist acts stupid, it's usually only themselves they hurt.

      July 27, 2011 at 4:15 pm | Report abuse |
    • Steve

      You know what else gets hit by cars a lot? People. Accidents happen to all of us.

      July 27, 2011 at 4:27 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Timothy Anton Gigliotti

    I don't get it, what did I say wrong?

    July 27, 2011 at 2:44 pm | Report abuse |
    • Chris

      Who are you talking to?

      Because if it's a woman... everything.

      July 27, 2011 at 2:46 pm | Report abuse |
    • Din,

      It's not what you said, it is that you say nothing, that's wrong lol..

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

    C'mon people . You and I both know it's Bush's fault . He had dogs and hunters chase it clear to Connecticut . Then he paid one of his cronies to drive over it when it was chased into the road . And none of them had an out of state hunting permit because he declared a moratorium on issuing permits . ;~)

    July 27, 2011 at 2:46 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Freshies

    I was driving home from Steamboat Springs, CO to western CO a few weeks ago and saw 2 prarie dogs, a skunk and one deer all get hit by cars in a 2 hour drive. That is me personally seeing the impacts not roadkill previously killed. It makes you wonder how many animals a day are killed by cars when I saw 4 killed just with my two eyes in a few hours.

    July 27, 2011 at 2:48 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Roman

    oh the irony

    July 27, 2011 at 2:49 pm | Report abuse |
  10. The picture is a bit much!

    Animal lovers clicking on the link to read the story will be horrified to see this awful picture enlarged.

    July 27, 2011 at 2:52 pm | Report abuse |
    • Freshies

      Maybe it will pull them out of their fairy tale land and it will remind them to drive carefully. It is a gross picture but it's reality, why hide that?

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

      I agree. I was horrified to see that picture as soon as I clicked on the story. Aside from feeling bad for the mountain lion to die in such a terrible way, some people just can't handle blood and gore.

      July 27, 2011 at 3:01 pm | Report abuse |
    • nope

      Aww baby diddums? This stuff happens with or without human interaction. Grow up.

      July 27, 2011 at 3:14 pm | Report abuse |
  11. MichaelChatt

    I'm not sure I buy the political garbage packed into this story. This Mountain Lion felt compelled to travel 1500 miles because everything was awesome in the environment? Don't animals migrate because they are searching for food? Is it possible it didn't travel the distance at all? Perhaps someone gave him a lift? Sadly, Trafficing wild animals is simply far to common.

    July 27, 2011 at 2:52 pm | Report abuse |
    • Din,

      Those big cats in the jungle have their own territory, yea why travel from SD to CT?

      July 27, 2011 at 3:31 pm | Report abuse |
  12. David

    This is total bs. Someone transported the animal that far. No reason for it to walk that far. The Midwest is filled will open range and plenty of habitat.

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

      Mountan lions travel pretty far distances, you are too confident in your thinking skills.

      July 27, 2011 at 2:55 pm | Report abuse |
  13. CarlosC

    You gotta be kidding me! A mountain lion having to marathon 1,500 miles is not a sign of environmental progress, it means its natural habitat was probably destroyed, and it was forced to look for food and shelter in areas where it never set foot on, thus making it easy to become a victim for a car or other animals that are strange to its environment. THIS IS NOT A SIGN OF CONSERVATION!!

    July 27, 2011 at 2:57 pm | Report abuse |
  14. andrea

    i don't think the picture was necessary...

    July 27, 2011 at 2:58 pm | Report abuse |
    • nope

      I think you need to get a grip on life also. What's with the sudden influx of PETA people?

      July 27, 2011 at 3:12 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Stephanie

    Why would you show the picture of the dead mountain lion with the article??? Why not just a stock photo of a mountain lion? I would think that CNN would have better taste than that.

    July 27, 2011 at 2:58 pm | Report abuse |
    • standingwave

      I disagree.People should see the carnage they cause.

      July 27, 2011 at 3:10 pm | Report abuse |
    • nope

      I think you need to get a grip on life.

      July 27, 2011 at 3:12 pm | Report abuse |
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