South Datoka Mountain Lion walks to Connecticut

7:26 a.m. on July 31, 2011 (EDT)
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 ( Hmmm ....   having a little trouble with this link ... maybe your browser will make the connection ? )

Well ... here we go .... never-the-less.

We, here in the East, occasionally get reports of mountain lion sightings ... and, suspected big cat unidentified paw prints.

The Eastern Mountain Lion was declared extinct many years ago.

This big cat was killed on a road, by a motorist.   A necropsy revealed DNA consistent with a strain of the breed known to live in South Dakota.  

The cat walked 1500 miles ....   Sad end to a magnificent animal.


10:19 a.m. on July 31, 2011 (EDT)
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Amazing that it walked to the east and made it past all the other highways,interstates,turnpikes and road without being hit.


I have seen these magificant animals at the Grand Canyon, in Utah near Zion and New Mexico's Gila Wilderness.

I could'nt get the link to open either so I copy and pasted the main subject into my browser and looked it up via yahoo.

Here's the article:

South Dakota Mountain Lion Walks to Connecticut

A cougar, dubbed the St. Croix Mountain lion — for a number of confirmed sightings in St. Croix County, Wisconsin — was hit and killed by a SUV in Milford, Connecticut on June 11, 2011.  The driver was uninjured.  The eastern mountain lion has been considered extirpated or extinct since the 1930’s, so a necropsy was performed to determine the cat’s genetic origin.

About six weeks after the death, the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP) announced the necropsy findings.  Based on tissue DNA, the 2-5 year old mountain lion was found to belong to a species originating in the Black Hills region of South Dakota.

DEEP Commissioner Daniel C. Esty had this to say:

“The journey of this mountain lion is a testament to the wonders of nature and the tenacity and adaptability of this species.  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.”

“The confirmation of a wild mountain lion in our state was the first recorded in more than 100 years,” Commissioner Esty said.  “This is the first evidence of a mountain lion making its way to Connecticut from western states and there is still no evidence indicating that there is a native population of mountain lions in Connecticut.”

It is hypothesized that over at least the last two and a half years this mountain lion made his way from South Dakota through Minnesota, Wisconsin and Michigan then into Ontario, Canada, New York and finally Connecticut.   The confirmed sightings of this specific mountain lion in Wisconsin were determined through scat, blood and hair.

Biologists say young male mountain lions will usually travel up to an average of 100 square miles in search of a mate.  So, the St. Croix Mountain lion either didn’t find a female mountain lion during his expedition or was just very, very picky.

The tragedy is after his exhaustive journey from west to east, he became road kill.  The Cougar Rewilding Foundation says the mountain lion trekked all that way for love.


1:02 p.m. on July 31, 2011 (EDT)
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Thanks for the help with the link, Gary.

Our friends here at Trailspace can now read the full story.   I am regularly on several environmental and outdoor-activity related websites.  Hence; my happening upon this story.

I have followied reports of Mountain Lion sightings a couple years ago, in nearby Cecil County, Maryland ... and New Castle County, Delaware.

DNR (Dep't Nat'l Resources ... our very own Police) confirmed the foot-prints were consistent with Puma / Mountain Lion tracks.

They seemed to stay along railroad tracks, and the tall brush and scrub-pine that normally grows near the railroad tracks.   Probably a safe route for them ... until crossing a highway, as this hapless creature did.

We DO HAVE wild critters in our area.   My next-door neighbor took pictures of a black bear in his front yard ... and, I have had coyotes trot right up my driveway.    Also, beavers and raccoons in the backyard.   Bald Eagles abound.   Lotsa red fox.   A herd of over 600 whitetail deer has been polled nearby.   Six-Hundred !    One of my neighbors was the editor of "Field & Stream" magazine.   He told me there are well over 1000 deer in our area.  I know of a place where I regularly see over 2-dozen wild turkeys, all at the same time.

I surf over on Assateague Island (partly in Maryland, partly in Virginia).   It is famous for WILD PONIES  that live amongst the dunes and scrub pine.   They just had the annual (and very famous)  Chincoteague "Pony Penning Day", to thin the herd in order for the hearty ponies to have ample food supplies.     Chincoteague Island is another barrier island that is adjacent to Assateague Island.   Funny to come out of the surf, and have to walk around horse turds on the beach !

Thanks again, Gary.


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