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Experts: Some Kind Of Big Cat Is On The Loose In Westchester County

Evoking Images Of Last Summer In Conn., Residents Say It's A Mountain Lion
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Mountain lion

Scientists believe the mountain lion in this image, shot on Dec. 1, 2009, in South Dakota, is the same animal that showed up in the woods of Fairfield County, Conn., in recent months. (Photo: CBS 2)

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MOUNT PLEASANT, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — Another big predator cat is apparently roaming the northern suburbs.

The calls started coming in earlier this week in Westchester County, reports CBS 2’s Lou Young.

Young saw the spot in Mount Pleasant where the big cat crossed paths with a number of startled suburbanites.

It immediately evoked images of last summer’s big cat encounters in nearby Greenwich, Conn.

The following is a conversation between a resident who saw something strange and a 911 dispatcher:

Caller: “I swear to you it was like a … I don’t know … I want to say a mountain lion.”

Dispatcher: “We had another report from someone else. We got officers up there looking for it.”

Caller: “It ran past and it stopped and it looked at us and made like a little noise, but then it ran and it jumped into the trees, like climbing trees.”

Dispatcher: “It was climbing trees.”

Caller: “So what is that?”

On reflection, experts said that last caller probably saw a bobcat jumping into the trees here. A bobcat is large feline that kills smaller mammals, different from a mountain lion, which is a huge cat that can take down, kill and eat just about anything. It’s an apex predator, which is why police said they couldn’t take a chance.

“I was a disbeliever also in the initial reports of a cougar … a cougar in Greenwich at first and then it was actually struck and killed on the Merritt Parkway so it was here,” said Mount Pleasant Police Chief Louis Alagno said, who later said these reports have to be taken seriously.

For the time being, the popular perception is it was a mountain lion.

“I’ll tell you, if I had a dog or cat and let it out, I’d be concerned,” resident John Baldwin said.

State conservation scientists said they’ll launch an investigation as soon as someone gets a photo or some other physical evidence of the big cat.

Mountain lions are officially extinct in this area. Last year’s Connecticut cat raised eyebrows because scientists said it walked here all the way from South Dakota.

Please offer your thoughts in the comments section below …

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