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. Sarah Frazier

    Not sure if I missed what will be done with him, but I hope he is preserved appropriately (stuffed if that is appropriate) and placed in a nuseum as a true warrior with a name like "Push On",nor maybe some of you along with your children can come up with a name. Question, did not the condition of his paws say he had travelled unusual mileage.

    Thanks and peach to all.

    July 27, 2011 at 3:00 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Mark L.

    Hmmm...1,500-mile journey?? Very, very cool story....Although, of course, it is sad and unfortunate what happened to cougar (a.k.a. – mountain lion, puma, etc.).

    July 27, 2011 at 3:01 pm | Report abuse |
  3. KellysBelly

    Interesting, since everything and everyone else is leaving Connecticut...business, young people, etc.etc.

    July 27, 2011 at 3:04 pm | Report abuse |
  4. gary

    Mountain lion shoud have used the crosswalk.

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

      There was no crosswalk, there is no fences side of the road, there is sign animal crossing... USA is under chapter 11 so no money to protect animals crossing the road 😉

      July 27, 2011 at 3:39 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Dave

    If the environment is in such great shape, as the fellow says in the blog, then why did the mountain lion have to travel 1500 miles to begin with?

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

      If the environment was trashed, it wouldn't of made it that far.

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

      That is my question Dave. Hope it wasn't looking for something to eat to survive. Such a long travel whatever the reason was. It is puzzle to me.

      July 27, 2011 at 3:19 pm | Report abuse |
    • George Johnson

      He probably traveled that far because he was looking for a female mountain lion. He headed east, found plenty of cover and prey to survivie, so just kept going . . .

      July 27, 2011 at 3:19 pm | Report abuse |
    • Lulu

      Over-population (human or mountain lion) where it originated perhaps ?

      July 27, 2011 at 3:22 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jason

      Why do you assume there has to be a problem in a local environment for an animal to travel a long distance? Mountain lions, from what I understand, can be nomadic – especially when wandering around for a mate.

      July 27, 2011 at 3:25 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Lila

    Awww poor kitty. They are usually scared of people and shy, it must have got lost to wind up near a road.

    July 27, 2011 at 3:10 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Samdromeda

    It looks like Big Foot's pet cat.

    July 27, 2011 at 3:11 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Lisa

    Poor Kitty
    🙁

    July 27, 2011 at 3:11 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Uma

    Very beautiful animal... sad end.

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

    A very sad ending for the beautiful animal.

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

    To everyone complaining about the pic, you know full well you'd be complaining that CNN never has relevant pics and is too PC had they left it out or used some generic photo.

    July 27, 2011 at 3:14 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Mark

    @Dave,I agree....not only that,why did it have to travel 1500 miles only to be hit by an automobile? I realize that folks in Connecticut aren't used to seeing a big cat on the road like we are here in Florida, but come on, they couldn't slow down enough or apply a little brake to at least TRY to avoid hitting the animal? Oh well, I guess the increase in their insurance rates after having the damage repaired that the cat did to their vehicle will serve as an object lesson!

    July 27, 2011 at 3:14 pm | Report abuse |
    • smarterthanyou

      Idiot! Don't swerve or brake to avoid an animal or you'll be the dead one!!!!

      July 27, 2011 at 3:24 pm | Report abuse |
  13. ps

    It is amazing that the poor animal survived without getting shot by trigger-crazy NRAs, or police "protecting" throngs of humans crowding this planet. In the end, it got hit.

    July 27, 2011 at 3:15 pm | Report abuse |
  14. JMissal

    It wasn't necessarily THIS lion that travelled 1500 miles. The article states that the cat's origin was confirmed by genetic testing which can only confirm where the cat's heritage originated from. To assume that this particular cat travelled that distance would be the same as assuming that I was born in Europe and travelled to the Rocky Mountains afterward. It is far more likely, given these animal's tendency to be territorial, that it ended up there due to a migration event over time of a segment of the South Dakotan population.

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

    Yellowstone must be gettin' ready to blow.

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