So, you think you saw a mountain lion in CT?


This happened a ten years back, or far more.

Right after covering some meeting in Kent, I drove house at evening. Near the Kent-Warren border, one thing ran across the street in front of my auto.

Not a deer. Not a coyote. Much too massive to be a bobcat, I believed, but a significant cat with a very long tail.

My God, I believed … a mountain lion? A catamount? A ghost?

But it was darkish. I had my lower-beams on. I was exhausted. I observed the thing for it’s possible two seconds.

Soon after contemplating about it for lots of years, I have concluded: I and my lying eyes never know what it was.

Which is why I am both of those sympathetic and a doubting Robert when new sightings of mountain lions pop up, as they do in the state just about every calendar year or two — the most up-to-date remaining in Woodbridge.

We know this can take place. In 2011, a automobile struck down a mountain lion on the Wilbur Cross Parkway in Milford.

But that was the very last verified sighting of a mountain lion in Connecticut.

As with the Woodbridge sighting, the mountain lion experiences since 2011 are only what people saw, or consider they saw. Regardless of the ubiquity of cellphones, no one’s clicked a photograph.

This puts the condition Department of Power and Environmental Protection in the unenviable place of staying the naysayer, the killjoy, the skunk in the garden. Persons say they noticed a mountain lion. The DEEP wishes proof.

“I believe I’d characterize it as a problem,” explained Jenny Dickson, director of DEEP’s wildlife division, of its mountain lion evaluation obligations.

It is not that the condition doesn’t want to have a further mountain lion, Dickson mentioned

“First, we really like wildlife. Why would not we want to see a thing as awesome as a mountain lion?” she stated. “Second, feel of the funding that would be out there to research mountain lions if we had them in the state.’’

But, Dickson claimed, DEEP proceeds on science and evidence. That’s missing with all the mountain lion sightings that come about.

Proof could occur from nature cams, which loads of groups and persons established up to see what’s wandering by. The 1,600-acre Great Hollow Character Maintain and Ecological Study Heart in New Fairfield has this kind of cameras.

But the preserve’s Govt Director Chad Seewagen reported there is no mountain lion footage there.

“We by no means acquired a person on our cameras,” he mentioned.

Nor, has everyone else.

There is also the challenge of street kills.

Florida is the only condition in the eastern U.S. that has a mountain lion populace. Florida’s are an endangered species, with maybe only 200 to 230 of the massive cats roaming the state’s 67,755 square miles. There are, nevertheless, about 25 panthers killed by automobiles there every 12 months.

Connecticut has only 5,543 square miles. It has a lot of roadways and plenty of automobiles on people roads. But other than the 2011 killing on the Wilbur Cross, there is has not been an additional confirmed mountain lion-auto incident in the condition.

Tim Abbott, conservation and Greenprint director for the Housatonic Valley Association, primarily based in Cornwall, explained he’s read lots of promises of mountain lion sightings above the a long time.

He’s also heard claims that DEEP doesn’t want to acknowledge their existence for the reason that there would be yet another endangered species to deal with.

But the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Assistance declared the jap mountain lion extinct in 2011 and taken out it from the endangered species list. As a result Abbott stated, individuals promises go away.

Abbott stated if mountain lions ended up breeding in the condition, they’d do perfectly listed here. Connecticut has loads of woods for cover and a lot of white-tailed deer to take in. But, he mentioned, which is not occurring.

Abbott acknowledged that mountain lions out west have large ranges. It is conceivable, he said, that like the 2011 mountain lion, which took a two-calendar year journey to Connecticut from South Dakota, other people could sometimes convert up here. But he reported, the odds of looking at one are “infinitesimally little.”

So why do men and women see mountain lions? For the reason that, like me, they want to.

They’re huge, wonderful predators. They lived in this article when, prior to we deforested the condition and extirpated them. They’re scarce. Seeing one would be rarer even now.

Here’s the rub. Heaps of bobcats are in the state these days. Folks viewing one for the 1st time may well make the jump to catamount.

“I totally comprehend,” DEEP’s Dickson reported. “But we will need the science to again it up.’’

Contact Robert Miller at [email protected]


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