Up To 8-Foot Long, 160-Pound Mountain Lion On The Loose In Greenwich, Conn.

Conservation Experts: This Size Cat Hasn't Been Seen Here In 100 Years

GREENWICH, Conn. (CBSNewYork/AP) — There has been a wild animal alert issued in the northern suburbs. A mountain lion, yes, a mountain lion, is on the loose, reports CBS 2’s Lou Young.

It’s out there and conservation experts said the picture obtained by CBS 2 is definitely it.

“I don’t believe it,” Greenwich resident Siobahn O’Conner said.

Believe it.

WCBS 880’s Sean Adams In Connecticut

Connecticut environmental officials said Thursday it appears the big cat that has been spotted roaming the town of Greenwich is, in fact, a mountain lion.

A full-sized mountain line was photographed on the campus of the Brunswick School in Greenwich on Sunday, along with a matching paw print and a 9-inch lion dropping that seals the scientific deal.

It’s not a bobcat, it’s a mountain lion.

“Bobcats have these little tails, but the mountain lion has this really long tail about half the length of their body, and are 6 to 8 feet long,” said Joe Cassone of the Greenwich Conservation Department. It’s not common to see a big predator like that in Greenwich.”

“From what we can determine, it was at least two to three times bigger than a dog and the dog is bigger than a bobcat,” said DEP spokesman Dwayne Gardner. “We’re also working with [the] New York Department of Environmental Conservation to try to obtain a trap for it.”

Mountain lion

Conservation experts say the animal seen in this image shot in Greenwich, Conn., is a mountain that weighs approximately 160 pounds. (Photo: CBS 2)

We’re not looking for your Aunt Mildred’s kitty here, either. This is a big cat, a 160-pound predator that hunts and eats things that are bigger than a breadbox. Luckily, it’s wary of people as people, justifiably, are wary of it.

“It’s especially scary for people with kids,” Greenwich resident Amy Sands said.

“Yeah [it’s unsettling] and who knows where it came from?” Chris Berry added.

Greenwich Conservation director Denise Savageau said that if anyone happens upon a suspected mountain lion, they should, “Act large, stand up tall, wave your arms and make noises. Don’t freeze. You don’t want to act like a bunny.”

By doing so, the animal more than likely will not view a human as prey, Savageau said.

She added that residents should exercise caution in trying to photograph the animal if it is spotted, preferably from the confines of a building or car.

That’s the big question. Cats this big haven’t been seen here in 100 years and the Eastern mountain lion is officially extinct. But it’s in Greenwich, perhaps an escapee from private zoo or an illegal pet. It is legal to keep one in New York but illegal in Connecticut.

In any event, its presence is real enough to force a weekend charity event to move to another town. The American Cancer Society is relocating an event.

Wildlife experts say mountain lines eat roughly one deer a week and this one could anywhere in the area there’s a food source. The experts also said this animal can easily cover 50 miles in a day. It could be in South Norwalk by now.

Ironically the Eastern mountain lion was officially declared extinct only a few months ago — in March.

Anyone who spots the mountain lion is asked to immediately contact local officials and the DEP’s 24-hour hotline (860-423-3333). Those with information about the origin of the animal can also contact the DEP to report it anonymously.

Have you ever seen a mountain lion? What would you do if you saw one? Please offer your thoughts in the comments section below.

(TM and Copyright 2011 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2011 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

More from Lou Young
  • Joe Russo

    I’m excited the big cats are back. We need more predators to keep nature in balance. Too many freakin deer and critters around. Stop worrying about it and learn how to protect yourself. Thats all one can do…if it is proven that these are breeding animals…you can bet your rear end they will be federally protected.

  • Kenya27

    I would love it if a Couger picked me up in a connecticut bar!
    Ooch claw marks up and down my back!

  • Sue

    Believe me….they are around from time to time…..don’t let anyone tell you different.
    My husband and I saw one with our own four eyes……….read link below

    Cos Cob couple claims mountain lion sighting – News 12
    Jan 16, 2010 … Sue and Pat Clark say they spotted the feral feline on a hill on Bible Street. … Cos Cob couple claims mountain lion sighting …
    http://www.news12.com/articleDetail.jsp?articleId=241740…4... – Cached

    • agreewithnowildlionsinCT

      Sue – why should anyone believe you? Surely not because some reporter printed your claim…people make similar claims ad nauseum…how is that newsworthy? Your alleged sighting is not proof of anything.

      What’s newsworthy is what occurred near Milford on Friday night…real evidence…but then one record of a male cougar, adds up to a total of one. And certainly that does not validate any of the thousands who claim to have seen them for the past 25 years.

      In your case, the article indicated there were tracks. Tracks are potential evidence, which can provide proof…I presume the tracks mentioned in the article showed proof of something other than a cougar, correct?

      Figured, as much!

      • sue

        I don’t have to prove myself to you or anyone else……alleged in your mind….
        We saw what we saw….a mountain lion…
        Don’t go in the woods and turn your back, one might bite you in the ass someday… Or maybe you SHOULD ….

  • saywhat

    RT: I was not there, so I think you are probably just one of the 99.999% who claimed to have seen a cougar but didn’t. How can I know that you are not just another coooougar kook, like so-oo many others? What evidence do you possess to prove that you, or for that matter anyone else, saw a cougar. One road=killed pet doesn’t convince me that you saw a cougar…not hardly.

    You’ll just have to e happy enough BELIEVING that on your own.

  • Kevin

    Last June i was behind the Newtown High school during softball practice an we seen a mountain lion walking through the woods. It was right before dusk.

  • David

    There has been a big cat (mountain Lion) in our neighborhood for at least 14 years. We started to notice the paw prints the winter we built our house on (believe it or not) Cat Rock Rd.We back up to a large nature preserve & the whole area is heavily wooded, hilly & lots of rock outcroppings with plenty of perfect spots for a den.
    We have seen it as well as our neighbors many times over the years. It comes around for a week or two & then moves on for months before coming back.
    By the way news people, the one killed by the car in Millford is much smaller than out local kitty who by the way is VERY shy when it comes to people.
    Leave the cat be, nobody has been hurt in all these years. There is more than enough food for him to EVER need to go after a human.

  • Marshall Rankowitz

    I live in Ridgefield, Ct. and in October 2009 on a Friday afternoon at 1pm I was in my driveway when I saw only 20 feet away a mountain lion and 2 cubs right behind her….she stopped to look at me and then looked back and there were another 2 cubs across the street trying to catch up…she dashed into the woods behind my home, which can connect to the Pine Mountain preserve and her 4 cubs followed. I called the local police and the D.E.P and they told me it was impossible. I have owned cats all my life….her cubs were bigger!!

    • RT

      He was in Newtown, CT 3 months before, July 19, 2009.
      Now one is dead in Milford, CT 2 days ago. I bet with all the iphone cameras we will get more photos now.

  • formicah

    A full-sized mountain line..” Proofreaders haven’t been seen in CT for 100 years.

  • Eb Miller

    There have been many mountain sighting in upstate New York. I saw one about 2 years ago and it was astonishing. A local reporter saw one in Catskill NY area a few months ago (Look at Archives of Catskill Daily Mail). Even though many people have seen mountain lions, NYS DEC denies their existence.

  • Tim

    This clearly was a man wearing a cougar suit. I know of the guy: he drives around the Eastern Seaboard, puts on the suit and trots through the woods for a few hours.
    Eats roadkill at times of simalcrud…..
    So don’t worry folks. it’s all theatre.
    No cats here, Move along.

  • Tom 2T

    Get use to it! We did. Have them here in cow/calf country, Go buy a pack of Regulator Hounds. 75% Fila Braxziliero and 25% Rhodesian Ridgeback. Keeps them off your farms up there in Yankee Land

  • Yup.

    Saw one stalking a deer about 5:30am at the University of Colorado campus. There was another unusually large one eating dogs and cats in my neighborhood this past spring in Arizona. Remember those bear sightings 10 years ago in Connecticut. They made a comeback.

  • masstexodus

    There are so many deer in Greenwich – it was only a matter of time before a predator took advantage …

  • Sam1

    there were Eastern Mountain Lions north of Lake Placid when I was a kid (40 years ago). No one lik3ed to talk about it because it was then bad for the tourist trade and they local wildlife guys would have to try to track them – they were called large bobcats

  • bobby

    Yeah notify the DEP hotline so these punks can go ahead and kill it .The same way they slaughtered 16 deer on a small island (Charles)in Milford .A island that the Deer traveled there in low tide and an Island that has no humans on it .And still these Punks from the DEP KILLED THEM …..LEAVE THE CAT ALONE …..

    • Abner Hale

      Maybe you’ll grow a brain cell or two one of these days.

  • nowildlionsinconnecticut

    There are no wild mountain lions in connecticut, or any new england state perioid. With all these so called sightings ppl claim, there would be dead cougars on roadsides quite regularly. Sorry nice fantasy, but NOT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    • maybenotbut

      There are thousands of Mt. Lions in California, yet “road kills” are so rare as to be practically zero. True, this one may be an escaped “pet” or a solitary migrant, but the absense of roadside bodies doesn’t prove anything-either way..

      • agreewithnowildlionsinCT

        maybenotnut: Though it proves this particular cat near Milford, CT is dead, eh.

        You’re wrong about roadkills in California – the number killed by vehicles certainly is not “practically zero.” But go ahead and make up any BS that serves your purpose, and pass it along to the gullible…some will undoubtedly believe that rubbish.

        BTW, the number of roadkills in Florida was 17 and 16 in 2009 and 2010, respectively. That, with a population of less than 200 panthers. There are at least some RKs wherever there are cats and roads. CT has lots of roads. And just how many roadkilled mountain lions have there been?

    • Dat_Truth_Hurts

      You’re right. It is just a ‘roided out house cat.

      Here kitty kitty…

  • Dat_Truth_Hurts

    Sure looks like good ‘eatin. Toss some BBQ on it… mmmm.

  • Frank Rizzo

    I was once or twice attacked by a cougar. The first was in the upper east side of Manhattan and the other was in Aspen. Tried to run but she hunted me down.

    No escape from them cougars!!!

  • Vernon Hell

    Hopefully,the big cat will not eat any hedge fund managers. You never want to see wildlife poisoned.

  • tim mungo

    i know they are not extinct.i live in dutchess county new york,have a small farm and all winter in the snow had tracks behind my house that i thought to be coyotes,but very large until one day followed a set of them dragging what was left of a dead deer(the whole deer) across a stream on a log.then in beginning of may 930 at night i heard some comotion by my barn went out with a light and there he was behind my barn just standing there starring at me,was a young mountain lion.he wasnt affraid just slowly walked away.so if it was a baby mom and dad must be around.

  • http://georgejmyersjr.wordpress.com georgejmyersjr

    You can visit them in the woods as the New Hampshire Science Center in Holderness, along where they filmed “On Golden Pond”. They had a trail and they’re behind plexiglass, interesting to see in the “woods”. Other animals there live bears, eagles ad others. There’s also may be one in the Ossipee Mountain area seen with the return of wild turkey and an inventory by biologists. I’ve seen small cat track in the light snow in the federal Vermont Green Mountain on a survey for an expanding wind-farm there near the Sleepy Hollow Road. Catamount they’re called there a more generic term I think.

  • Joe Kliplinger

    It’s so cute and cudly. Its fur should look good in my living room.

  • grannie elbow

    Live in Wyoming. Sometimes cougars go up onto porches and attack dogs and cats. No people attacked, but we don’t let our kids go out alone. Very few stray cats.

  • McGehee

    It wouldn’t be the first cougar prowling that neighborhood…

  • timp

    I’ve seen them- but then I live in Montana.Very cool animal.

  • Marybel

    Well, at least here in Western Connecticut there are PLENTY of deer for this large “cat” to eat

  • Mr. Shea

    Let’s pray that the authorities aren’t as trigger happy as those in Chicago a few years ago when they cornered one in an alley way and then gunned it down. Heros there not.

    • Micha


  • Gerald Waldman

    It looks like the Eastern Mountain Lion may NOT know it’s officially extinct after all.

  • Big game hunter

    And they said these big cats are extinct on the east coast and in PA!!

    “Greenwich Conservation director Denise Savageau said that if anyone happens upon a suspected mountain lion, they should, “Act large, stand up tall, wave your arms and make noises. Don’t freeze. You don’t want to act like a bunny.”

    By doing so, the animal more than likely will not view a human as prey, Savageau said.”

    If you do this, you better be prepared for a fight!, carry a large folding knife with you!

    • DP

      Careful about those folding knives: if they don’t lock open, they can close on your fingers. There was also a push on to classify thumb-operated knives as switch-blades — something I believe was pushed back. Lobby for your rights!

      • Big game hunter

        I agree visit knife rights dot com!

  • captc

    we have been seeing one in the vernon nj area for the last 3 years, first in the valley along the ap trail then in the highland lakes area . most sightings by people who well know what they look like

  • M.A.D


  • Bill

    Wow, I knew there were cougers in Greenwhich, but now Mountain Lions? Its getting more dangerous everyday…

    • captc

      same animal . couger is it’s nick name

      • DP

        whom do mountain lions date?

      • Gerald Waldman

        He was referring to “cougars, older women with younger men!

  • Carole Baskin

    Hopefully the authorities will contact us at Big Cat Rescue rather than just killing the cat.

    • NJ Resident

      Why don’t YOU contact THEM?? why wait???

  • VY

    Lions and Tigers and Bears….Oh My !!!!

  • ct fam

    My neighbor and I saw one in NEwtown, CT last year at dusk. It was much bigger than a bobcat. Contrary to the DEP claims, there appear to be a few mountain lions in CT.

    • saywhat

      ct fam: How much had you been drinking at the time? Contrary to what you’ve stated, there’s no proof there are any mountain lions in CT, other than an occasional escaped pet. Any chance you saw bigfoot that same evening?

      • RT

        Mountain Lion DEAD on highway. Back in July 2009 I saw a mountain lion in Newtown, CT near the huge Algonquin Gas line. Now one is dead in Milford, CT! I was near RT 25.

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