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. Reed

    I was on my bike on a 700 mile ride in Minnesota in the Fall of 2009 and was chased by a Mountain Lion at night by the Minnesota River, interesting, could have been this same mountain lion.

    July 27, 2011 at 3:41 pm | Report abuse |
  2. John

    This is very misleading. Let us not get too hopeful about the story of a mountain lion so desperate that it will travel 1,500 miles for food and safety. Mountain lions do not want to travel this far, and only desperation will make them. This is a sign that we are losing the battle for preservation, not winning.

    July 27, 2011 at 3:43 pm | Report abuse |
  3. David Hillman

    Actually we had one in Chicago, too, recently. Was shot and killed by CPD. Probably the same cat that was seen in Minnesota, Wisconsin, Michigan and also wound up dead in CT. At least, if you believe 'the officials'.

    July 27, 2011 at 3:43 pm | Report abuse |
  4. jessicaber

    Thank you Peter. I am. Did you check out my website? My uncle created Cape Cod Chips. I love this country and my love for it and my faith came back to bite me.

    July 27, 2011 at 3:44 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Don - Chicago

    We need environmental and habitat protection! Better stated, these amazing creatures do. We owe it to them, ourselves and evolution. What right do we have to continue destroying this planet? How many forests, wetlands, prairies, rivers, etc. are we going to destroy due to our greed? Seeing this creatures bloody face and stiff corpse has demoralized me and ruined my day. I hope this creature is in a better place, safe and protected from man.

    July 27, 2011 at 3:44 pm | Report abuse |
    • Taxpayer

      Don – Chicago:

      I completely agree. You said it perfectly: "What right do we have to continue destroying this planet?" This is horrible to read, and the positive spin being put on the event (we are preserving wilderness! blah blah blah) is sickening. There is no valid reason for humans not to coexist peacefully with "other" animals.

      July 27, 2011 at 3:51 pm | Report abuse |
    • johhnyoh

      Oh shut up .. The cat travelled 1500 miles. Sorry but unless you turn the whole United States into a wildlife reserve how would you stop this from happening? Oh we we a cat dies..Who freaking cares!. I was in my yard the other day saw a hawk kill a robin and its mate was there trying to rescue it. Nature is brutal. .

      July 27, 2011 at 4:14 pm | Report abuse |
  6. ellen

    Poor baby makes his way 1,500 miles to survive and gets hit by a car. I guess since we continue to take over their habitats and destroy the planet we're lucky there are any left at all. I pray people wake up these animals, the polar bears and the elephants(disgusting ivory collection confiscated here in Philly today)need our protection, our resources and our hearts after all THEY WERE HERE 1st!!!

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

      "poor baby" would tear your throat out if you came upon him in the woods. I do not want them in my backyard, thank you. I will go to Colorado if I want to see mountain lions.

      July 27, 2011 at 3:52 pm | Report abuse |
    • sawgrass

      To Chris, who responded to Ellen

      You don't want them in your backyard? Maybe they don't want you in theirs. Humans destroy animals' "backyards" by building a house, a road, a town. It's tragic when humans are mauled by animals, of course, but it's easy to forget that we take over their homes and essentially force them out. It's safe to say that this mountain lion's family was roaming the territory now called Connecticut before you decided to build a house there.

      July 27, 2011 at 3:59 pm | Report abuse |
    • Meow

      What's wrong with tearing your throat out? There's too many people. One less won't make a difference.

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

      To Chris: You're wrong. Mountain lions are terrified of people. If you came across this animal in your back lawn, it would bolt before you had a chance to pull out your camera phone. That's why sightings are so rare. I live in Northwest Missouri on a farm where we have found mountain lion tracks for more than 20 years. We've never seen the animal.

      July 27, 2011 at 4:04 pm | Report abuse |
    • Chris

      Sawgrass – You are right... how dare we humans have the audacity to build houses or towns. We should all live in caves and eat berries.

      Did you even think about that before you posted it?

      July 27, 2011 at 4:08 pm | Report abuse |
    • Chandra

      I agree with Chris. Most of these people live in their own bubble. To CT I live in Northeast Missouri. Anytime we go to a remote we take a .22 why? Because they aren't the cute, scared little kitties people seem to think they are. I was on a nature trail in southern Missouri a few years ago. The terror they and any other animal inflicts when they stalk you is unreal. Yes I am glad they are becoming more and more abundant, but I don't want them near my children or my yard.

      July 27, 2011 at 4:10 pm | Report abuse |
    • johhnyoh

      LOL..hahah..Hey it is sad but I see road kill everyday. Life is hard!..But lets get real, you are like that fool that hung out with the grizzly bears and became their friend. He loved the bears and would do anything to protect them...Of course he pizzed on off and it ate him..but hey that is nature..

      July 27, 2011 at 4:16 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Beadlesaz

    RIP, Mountain Lion. You are a beautiful creature and I hope your kind finds a way to survive mankind.

    July 27, 2011 at 3:49 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Autobahn Society?

    humans ~ 5 million to the 50th power

    rest of the earth ~ one to the minus zero power

    July 27, 2011 at 3:52 pm | Report abuse |
  9. thefab4

    It's horrible enough that the lion was hit by a car, but showing pictures of its body being prepared for a necropsy is not all necessary. The cat died in a horrible way, why display its remains like this. Shame on you.

    July 27, 2011 at 3:55 pm | Report abuse |
    • Chris

      Oh, baaawwwww. So what. It's reality. Do you just want CNN to report on all the clean, shiny, pre-washed-and-rinsed fluff stories? Grow a pair. Life is messy.

      July 27, 2011 at 3:58 pm | Report abuse |
    • Autobahn Society?

      are you a sissy chris?

      limp wrist?

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

      Why, are you hitting on me?

      July 27, 2011 at 4:06 pm | Report abuse |
    • SDN

      Chris: Life is messy simply because people with no sense of who, what and where they are. You are an excellent example of egocentricity at it's worst. You don't care about anything in this world except what you want. Fortunately, the rest of mankind is at least a few steps behind you in this myopic view of what you think you are.

      July 27, 2011 at 4:11 pm | Report abuse |
    • Chris

      SDN, my comment was more of an observation of how censored and filtered our mainstream media is, so much so that a picture of a dead animal is now considered shocking.

      Go take a look at what they show on al-Jazeera, or raw footage of Syria that has leaked on the web, or maybe the footage of the Su-27 crash that killed dozens of people in the Ukraine. If you find that somehow "myopic" and "egocentric", then you are a very strange – and probably stupid – person.

      July 27, 2011 at 4:13 pm | Report abuse |
    • SDN

      Chris: I would consider it a grand compliment if you would consider me 'strange' compared to you. I'd like to think that comparison would remain true my entire life. You may or may not have noticed – those producing the comments displaying the least evidence of a sentient thought always include the words 'moron', 'idiot', or 'stupid' in the closing sentence of their argument. I'm happy to report that i'm none of the above.

      July 27, 2011 at 4:40 pm | Report abuse |
    • SDN

      Oh, and Chris – I'm, strangely enough, not at all drawn to graphic displays of the suffering and violent deaths of other living creatures. Some of us are – for their own reasons, of course.

      July 27, 2011 at 4:44 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Tony

    You all are a bunch of suckers... You keep saying we're destroying this or we're destroying that... This animal came from South Dakota... What the hell is in South Dakota? It has a population of 800,000 in the 17th largest state in the USA... So, this poor mountain lion had nowhere to live & moved to connecticut... Really? This is what you believe? Probably has nothing to do with a search for food, climate change, etc. LOLOLOLOLOLOL

    July 27, 2011 at 3:58 pm | Report abuse |
    • Autobahn Society?

      you and chris tight tony?

      July 27, 2011 at 4:02 pm | Report abuse |
    • Meow

      hahahahahhahaahhahahahahahahahahahahahhah!!!!!!! whatever.

      July 27, 2011 at 4:03 pm | Report abuse |
    • Chris

      Autobahn Society is searching for a couple of men to satisfy him, apparently.

      July 27, 2011 at 4:09 pm | Report abuse |
    • Autobahn Society?

      i so totally am... please, chris and tony, i want to be double teamed. i need man meat, now.

      July 27, 2011 at 4:10 pm | Report abuse |
    • SDN

      Tony: Sounds as if you might be the one trolling for suckers. Surely you have a nail to buff.

      July 27, 2011 at 4:13 pm | Report abuse |
  11. conexes

    The masses of backward eco-idiots posting here is unimaginable. This is an animal: mindless, instinctive and utterly useless in even the most focused scope of reality. Imagine the poor guy who has to get the dent pulled out of his bumper after this beast wandered into his way! Also, to those proposing that money be spent to "save" this "beautiful" creature: you do realize that we have homeless veterans, starving children and an exponentially-increasing national debt to take care of first, right? Get off of your throne of idiocy and put animals where they belong – last!

    July 27, 2011 at 4:01 pm | Report abuse |
    • Autobahn Society?

      close your mouth and shuffle off knuckle dragger

      July 27, 2011 at 4:05 pm | Report abuse |
    • Meow

      Too bad. Poor homelss vet....waaaaaa. We need more people starving. americans are fat, lazy pigs. Save the animals and let the people die.

      July 27, 2011 at 4:05 pm | Report abuse |
    • Casteel

      "This is an animal: mindless, instinctive and utterly useless in even the most focused scope of reality. Imagine the poor guy who has to get the dent pulled out of his bumper after this beast wandered into his way!"

      I would like to remind you that we are also animals... Would you also wish this death upon your own compatriots? We have no need for your closed-minded hypocrisy in this conversation or in the issues that you speak of.

      July 27, 2011 at 4:08 pm | Report abuse |
    • conexes

      Save the animals and let the people die? You ignorant, nihilistic misanthrope. I imagine that if you met this noble creature on its terms you'd make a nice meal for it, but yes, lets sacrifice people for animals. Idiot.

      July 27, 2011 at 4:09 pm | Report abuse |
    • Chandra

      AMEN

      July 27, 2011 at 4:13 pm | Report abuse |
    • Meow

      Another fat, lazy, un-educated, over-opinionated american blabbering off at the mouth. Wow. I'm shocked.

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

      Casteel: They have absolutely no idea what you're talking about. These people either have no soul, or, more likely, are terrified of the one they have. They spell biology, diversity, respect, perspective 'Coors' and 'Remington'.

      July 27, 2011 at 4:17 pm | Report abuse |
    • travis

      you are a complete f*****g piece of s**t! i bet you live in a city, in a tiny apartment, all alone because of your arogant, selfcentered maner! we're not the only ones here... You are the type of human that will continue ruining this beautiful earth!!! please... never come to Vermont! People like you should not be allowed out of your box!

      July 27, 2011 at 4:19 pm | Report abuse |
    • k13

      There may be homeless people, but don't forget that we are all connected. It may seem as one big cliché, but still its true. Don't forget, if the bees die out, so will we. Maybe not today, maybe not tomorrow... but when flowers aren't pollenated, crops stop growing, and eventually we, us technologically, socially and so-called morally developed Humans, we, us, you will all feel the effect of a simple, seemingly insignificant insect called the bee. So yes, a mountain Lion being hit by a car is a tragedy, since now there is one less cat out there in the wild. A car can easily be replaced, with money.. but the dodo bird is gone forever... (its a metaphor)

      July 27, 2011 at 4:20 pm | Report abuse |
    • conexes

      I think the general consensus is that animals have no souls. I certainly don't advocate any sort of cruelty to anything capable of perceiving pain, inclusive of animals, but to elevate them to the level of a human being in terms of what they deserve or their innate dignity is ludicrous. At the end of the day, these animals make no difference to anything of importance whatsoever. Besides serving as a source of food and perhaps a crude means of transportation, animals just don't stack up!

      July 27, 2011 at 4:21 pm | Report abuse |
    • Meow

      You're an idiot. I'm guessing you don't work at NASA....unless you empty the wastebaskets. Thank god you're stupidity will prevent you from doing anything of substance in this life besides eating fast food and changing the oil in your car.

      July 27, 2011 at 4:28 pm | Report abuse |
    • conexes

      Its an animal Meow, and now its dead. Nothing more will be done to protect it or its kind, or many of the other kinds of animals crawling around until they're already on the verge of extinction. Get over it, get work and get an opinion not published on the front cover of PETA Extremism Monthly.

      July 27, 2011 at 4:38 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Casteel

    A regrettable death for such a noble creature.

    I once saw a large mammal leaping from boulder to boulder in the White Mountains of New Hampshire. Both theories are plausible as far as the animal migrating that distance and also that there may be large cats back in the East that we aren't aware of. Only time and game cams will tell...

    July 27, 2011 at 4:02 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Chrissy

    I live in Northwest Fairfield County in CT and two of our local, small town HS football teams are called the Wildcats and the Bobcats so, yea, we all kind of know that there are big cats living here. No secret to residents like me who have seen them.

    July 27, 2011 at 4:02 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Sam27

    With every piece of land being converted into the next Starbucks, Walgreens, etc etc. it must be really awful to be a wild animal these days. May you rest in peace beautiful creature, and may we as human beings do more to protect the wild life that still exists.

    July 27, 2011 at 4:04 pm | Report abuse |
  15. BRod

    Poor kitty!

    July 27, 2011 at 4:05 pm | Report abuse |
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