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. wendy5

    why would anyone want these things in their neighborhood; how any one would justice them; maybe we should import some honey badgers kumoda dragons and anaconds to; i say shot them

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

      i say we shot peeple who cant spell

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

      they have only one use ~ eating teletubbies like you

      July 27, 2011 at 4:12 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Michelle

    Did any stop to think that maybe it didn't travel all that way but that someone brought him to Connecticut in hopes of keeping him as a pet? It would seem odd that no one ever reported seeing a mountain lion during his travels.

    July 27, 2011 at 4:08 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Henry

    It wasn't really a migrant cougar.... I was working in Chicago in a meat company with a lot of livstock on a cargo train. One day I saw a big feline traveling on the top of the train waiting for his chance to catch a lamb there! When I reported that to my boss and friends, they never belived me but after 2 days, another worker saw the same big cat. Sometimes people have indirectly caused the migration of the animals.

    July 27, 2011 at 4:10 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Kyli Blaze

    I think it was very distasteful to put that picture of that poor animal, deceased and everything; that mountain lion deserves more than that. Just sayin'.

    July 27, 2011 at 4:11 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Joe Dirt

    Isn't this how "Harry and the Hendersons" started? John Lithgow hit big foot with his car, remember?

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

      So YOU'RE the guy that saw that movie.

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

      LMAO, Browneye. Good one.

      July 27, 2011 at 4:45 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Browneye McGraw

    "...made great progress in achieving this goal.”

    And them some D-Bag in an SUV obliterates it.

    July 27, 2011 at 4:13 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Raj

    May be due to abnormal weather across US it coming out of its natural habitat.

    July 27, 2011 at 4:13 pm | Report abuse |
    • zhawk88

      Do what? 115 degrees in Minnesota isn't fact enough for me. Global warming is still a hoax! .... *sarcasm*

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

      @Raj: Yup – it was making its way for an appointment with Al Gore...

      July 27, 2011 at 4:27 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Mr Mxylprlxk

    That car probably saved some three year olds life, by taking that heartless carnivore out of the picture....

    July 27, 2011 at 4:14 pm | Report abuse |
    • cometlinear

      You have no clue.

      July 27, 2011 at 4:14 pm | Report abuse |
    • ~nikki~

      you are stupid.

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

      With that statement you have shown your ignorance!! Big Cats aren't heartless, only humans can be considered heartless!!

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

      You and other humans are what's heartless you moron!!!!!

      July 27, 2011 at 4:25 pm | Report abuse |
    • Niimki

      Look up the term blithering idiot. Your picture will be there.

      July 27, 2011 at 4:39 pm | Report abuse |
  9. cometlinear

    Tragic 🙁

    July 27, 2011 at 4:14 pm | Report abuse |
  10. SaintM

    Wendy5, you sound either ignorant or mentally ill – I say shoot you, one less one like you is problaby acceptable.

    July 27, 2011 at 4:14 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Zibigzoo

    New England Drivers.

    July 27, 2011 at 4:16 pm | Report abuse |
  12. High on Baby Jesus

    all you heathens will be smoted into the very bowels of hell for your evil sin of (insert what you get off on )

    July 27, 2011 at 4:17 pm | Report abuse |
  13. ~nikki~

    seriously CNN... take that f-ing photo down....

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

      I totally agree. It's a heartless photo.

      July 27, 2011 at 4:38 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Keith

    It is a shame that such a beautiful majestic animal had to die. I am certain whoever hit it feels pretty bad even though it could just as easily been a deer or a squirrel or a stray pet. More than one time my lady and I have darned wrecked trying to avoid a cat or a rabbit. Sometimes it can't be helped.

    Couple of observations:

    1. The pic: It's reality, get over it or just put on a re-run of Idol, or Survivor again and have a cup of tea.

    2. If you have to ask why the carcass is trussed up that way, just forget it and see No. 1 above.

    3. Travel: Exactly two things are certain, one being the animal's closely enough related to its South Dakota cousins that it is virtually certain it originated there or close by; and it it matches DNA from sightings between there and CT in Minn and WI, which would seem to indicate its travel route.

    4. Why the road trip? I'll side with commissioner Esty on this: that population densities of mountain lions probably have risen back to the point where instinct takes over and migrations begin. I'd bet there a lot more of these cats moving east right now.

    (Do a google on these terms "mountain lion sightings east" and anyone can see that more of these cats are coming back east. Number five of the list cites a Nat Geo article about these increased sightings.)

    5. Silly no-nothing swipes at gunowners: Hunters and fishermen are some of the staunchest advocates of conservation, and are a key element in population control via quotas and seasons set by the government.

    The biggest yahoos I've seen are no-nothing city dwellers who come out here to the country, get drunk and want shoot anything that moves. Thankfully they tend to wind up in country ditches, and at least shoot each other more often that the game or us country folk. Want to see a scared redneck? Show him an NYC dweller with a shiny new rifle and brand-new hunting clothes.

    That said, I don't hunt anymore and back when I did as a kid my grandfather made sure we knew if we shot it, we'd better eat it, with the exception of you city dwellers of course. I have never seen a four-legged creature in more need of shooting than a whole lot of two-leggers I've known.

    Pull some hope from a bad thing that happened: many more of these beautiful creatures are heading east as their numbers recover and grow.

    July 27, 2011 at 4:18 pm | Report abuse |
    • ~nikki~

      get a life

      July 27, 2011 at 4:20 pm | Report abuse |
    • I love to kill animals

      ....so Kieth... how long do they let you use the computer at the library?

      July 27, 2011 at 4:22 pm | Report abuse |
    • April

      I agree. Only shoot what you eat and use!!!

      July 27, 2011 at 4:23 pm | Report abuse |
    • BT

      Thanks, Keith. Good to know there are still some people out there capable of intelligence and logic.

      July 27, 2011 at 4:24 pm | Report abuse |
    • SDN

      Keith: I'll echo – loud and clear – BT's reply.

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

      good god man....
      it is know-nothing not no-nothing
      no/yes ~ get my drift?

      July 27, 2011 at 4:29 pm | Report abuse |
    • SNB

      I also agree with you – loud and clear!

      July 27, 2011 at 4:38 pm | Report abuse |
  15. bourneblogger

    The Mountain Lion probably threw himself in front of a car when he realized how much more homes in Connecticut were going for... ROAR!

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