Mountain lion struck by SUV near NYC

by Walter Olson on June 13, 2011

Given that the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has declared the Eastern mountain lion extinct, Connecticut environmental officials are assuming the animal killed by a motorist in Milford “may have been released or escaped from a local handler.” [Greenwich Time] Or was it? Chris Fountain: “There’s an idea floating about, going back at least fifteen years, that the Eastern Mountain Lion is not extinct but has been declared so so as to avoid the annoyance and inconvenience of complying with the Endangered Species Act.”

{ 6 comments }

1 Bill Poser 06.13.11 at 1:55 am

I have visited what is said to be the best mountain lion habitat in North America, in Montana, repeatedly, and have yet to see one in the wild, yet some people in Connecticut get to see one?! This is really unfair. Can I sue someone for emotional distress?

2 infrequent cleaner 06.13.11 at 8:31 am

The “may have been released or escaped from a local handler” line was used when a panther was shot near LaGrange, GA (about an hour below Atlanta – way north of FL). Because there aren’t any panthers in GA, you know?

Turns out the DNA testing says it wandered hundreds of miles up from the FL population – probably up the west coast and then up the Chattahoochee. IIRC, subsequent radio-collar studies on young males showed that they managed to wander all over South GA, with no “official” sightings. But growing up hunting in South GA, every one of us understood that people still see them sometimes.

But declaring it extinct to avoid the ESA stuff? Nah. I think it’s just hubris. The hunters see them, but the scientists don’t. I would imagine the scientists think something like “We’re the guys that get to make it official, and until WE see them, they don’t exist. We’re certainly not listening to the likes of you – everyone knows you guys love to embellish.”

3 Bill Alexander 06.13.11 at 8:47 am

Besides, the scientists will tell you that a hunter can’t tell a mountain lion from a giraffe. Only a scientist is qualified to do so.

4 Roy B 06.13.11 at 9:17 am

My wife and I have a home in NW Connecticut and we have had a mountian lion stroll across our property on two occasions, about a year apart. On the second occasion, the big cat crossed a nearby river and walked through a small town nearby. The response of the state was denial, even in the face of photos taken by folks in the town. Quite an amazing looking animal, but best at a distance.

5 Foxfier 06.13.11 at 10:31 pm

Score one for the Cryptozoologists.

Bill-
I lived in the area of NoCal that they use to drop off “problem” cougars from down south, and another area that has at least one llama kill a year by cougars for a total of nearly twenty years, and the only one I’ve seen outside of a zoo was a “problem” one waiting for release when I was a little kid! My folks saw one run across the road in Modoc in the early 80s, even though dad had been in the area since the 50s. It really isn’t fair! (Although I’d really rather not see one because it’s not near me, than see one that’s not scared of people…a little too familiar with the habits of house cats to want to see a house cat that weighs more than I do.)

6 Xmas 06.14.11 at 6:52 am

I wonder if this is a side effect of the drop in deer hunting on the East Coast (dying hunting culture + high population density = no places to hunt + nobody hunting). Deer populations in CT are at pest levels, no wonder large predators like coyotes and mountain lions are coming back.

Seriously, driving on the Merritt Parkway at night is like a game of dodge ‘em.

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