Like many an aspiring New Yorker, the mountain lion that was recently sighted wandering about Greenwich, Connecticut — the lion that was later, sadly, killed by an SUV on the Wilbur Cross Parkway — had headed east from far, far away. On Tuesday state officials reported that the animal had come all the way from the Black Hills of South Dakota, and, according to genetic testing, had also been in Wisconsin and Minnesota. It had traveled more than 1,500 miles to get to Connecticut. This, the New York Times reports, “is more than twice as far as the longest dispersal pattern ever recorded for a mountain lion.”
This news dispels theories that the mountain lion had probably been released or escaped captivity on the East Coast. But, not to worry, this should not indicate that mountain lions are going to start moving to the city and taking up all the semi-affordable housing. According to Daniel C. Esty, commissioner of the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection,
“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.”
This seems to be a singular incident, which just makes one think: Why? Why did this young mountain lion, 2 to 5 years old, head east, and so far, and to Connecticut of all places, only to get hit by a car on a parkway? Alas, this is one of those things we will probably never know.
Via the Twin Cities Press,
“I wish it were here to interview so we can find out,” said Susan Frechette, deputy commissioner for the Connecticut Department of Environmental Protection.
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on July 27, 2011