Scientists: Cougar Traversed Continent Over 2 Years On Way To Fairfield County

And What's More Remarkable, He Did Thousands Of Miles In Search Of Love

GREENWICH, Conn. (CBSNewYork) — A mountain lion killed in Connecticut last month is now confirmed to have crossed half a continent before arriving in upscale Fairfield County.

CBS 2’s Lou Young traced the remarkable movements of the Connecticut cougar.

A motion activated camera showed a young mountain lion, or, more specifically, a cougar, moving fast along the snowy banks of Minnesota’s St. Croix River on Dec. 1, 2009. We now know it was the same animal caught in a blurry backyard photo in Greenwich last month only to die days later under the wheels of an SUV on the Merritt Parkway.

Scientists are stunned.

“It was a two-year journey. It was an epic journey, you know?” Greenwich wildlife officer Joe Cassone said.

It was a journey that began in South Dakota, passed through Minnesota and Wisconsin, and then likely through Canada and down into the Hudson Valley. Experts said the young male Connecticut cougar was very likely looking for love.

“Unless territory opens up where there are females they are not going to occupy that territory so they will keep going,” said Chris Spitz of the Cougar Re-Wilding Institute.

DNA evidence collected from the big cat’s droppings in the wild sealed the deal: the animal traveled a tremendous distance and it appears the young male likely encountered no females during the entire trip. That seems to add a note of poignancy to the story.

“That’s sad, yes it’s sad,” one woman in Greenwich told Young.

“It’s tragic, it is. It’s really sad,” a man added.

The good news, though, is that Fairfield County residents no longer have to worry about encountering a large feline predator in the woods.

“It really puts it to bed that there was only one and there’s not a wave of mountain lions coming our way,” Cassone said.

State environmental officials are still deciding whether or not they’ll have the visitor’s remains stuffed as a tribute to its long trek. The big cat was 140 pounds when it died. Scientists said it was less than 5 years old, which is why they believe he was searching for a mate.

Please offer your thoughts in the comments section below.

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Comments

One Comment

  1. Resa says:

    Some may think that the Milford Mountain Lion was the only of his kind in Connecticut. However, there is evidence that this is not the case:

    http://www.examiner.com/animal-rescue-in-hartford/from-south-dakota-to-connecticut-a-cougar-s-quest-for-courtship

  2. jdd says:

    Am I the only skeptic here? Three months ago cougars were declared extinct in the east, and therefore get no endangered species protection, and one suddenly shows up?
    Think maybe it had some help on that journey?

  3. Bell Toller says:

    Alot of time I feel like a male Cougar too….so I know the feeling.

  4. MYPOINTOFVIEW says:

    WOW the things that males do for a females🙂

  5. Jx says:

    Was it headed to England?

  6. miss: a says:

    I mean SUFFER not ‘shot’. thank you

  7. miss a says:

    The cougars like hundreds of other species is getting extinct. this is devastating that the poor animal had to be suffer instead of captured alive and taken to a zoo facility with like mates to interact with and find love. so true that animals are like humans, the buddhist philosophy encircles this very well. when one is dying one does not think of the wealth they had, the status title (CEO, Prince, V.president) they earned. the phase of dying consists of the soul ‘s transition where one thinks about love. did i love enough, was i fulfilled and found my love, was i able to love. its is said that if the dying person is finding it difficult to let go into the phase of death as in struggling, then the soul feels unfulfilled and does not want to leave as its purpose was not completed. The killing of this beautiful Cougar, is deeply tragic, the Cougar was purely looking to complete its sole purpose of existence, to find love. Traveling across the continent in itself proves how deep his need was, just like us human beings, to find his love. I feel for you dear Cougar, for no one has the right to extinguish our life and cut short our destiny to fulfill our most important quest. dear Cougar, i love you very much and i am sorry you had to go this way and so soon.you are a true champion and even though i never met you, i will miss you very much. rest in peace. love ~a

  8. Ms:A says:

    The cougars like hundreds of other species is getting extinct. this is devastating that the poor animal had to be shot instead of captured alive and taken to a zoo facility with like mates to interact with and find love. so true that animals are like humans, the buddhist philosophy encircles this very well, when one is dying one does not think of the wealth they had, the status title (CEO, Prince, V.president) they earned. the phase of dying consists of the soul ‘s transition where one thinks about love. did i love enough, was i fulfilled and found my love, was i able to love. its is said that if the dying person is finding it difficult to let go into the phase of death as in struggling, then the soul feels unfulfilled and does not want to leave as its purpose was not completed. The killing of this beautiful Cougar, is deeply tragic, the Cougar was purely looking to complete its sole purpose of existence, to find love. Traveling across the continent in itself proves how deep his need was, just like us human beings, to find his love. I feel for you dear Cougar, for no one has the right to extinguish our life and cut short our destiny to fulfill our most important quest. dear Cougar, i love you very much and i am sorry you had to go this way and so soon.you are a true champion and even though i never met you, i will miss you very much. rest in peace. love ~a

  9. cygon says:

    AAwwww. Poor thing.

  10. Zilly says:

    Kitty felt like going for a walk, but 2,000 miles! That’s unreal!

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