…they said that the Connecticut Cougar had made its way east from the Black Hills of South Dakota and that genetic testing matched samples of an animal confirmed as having been in Wisconsin and Minnesota.
That means that the animal traveled more than 1,500 miles to Connecticut, more than twice as far as the longest dispersal pattern ever recorded for a mountain lion. The news stunned researchers trying to make sense of the first confirmed presence of the species in Connecticut in more than a century. Many believed that the animal must have been released or had escaped from captivity.
Daniel C. Esty, commissioner of the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection, said that the journey was a remarkable and positive reminder of the ability of wild animals to survive and adapt, but that there was no evidence that mountain lions were returning to the state.
“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,” he said.
But the finding may add at least a smidgen of mystery or paranoia to dozens of reports of similar creatures in Connecticut and the Northeast, most of them investigated and then dismissed as mistaken impressions. Before the animal was reported seen in early June in Greenwich, the last confirmed sighting of a mountain lion in Connecticut was in the late 1800s.
This news means that the animal passed through Pennsylvania en route to Connecticut.