Mountin’ Lyin’

For years there have been reports circulating around this area of mountain lion sightings. I remember that we used to hear of them (or panthers or catamounts or pumas or cougars – the same thing by another name) in Cuba, New York, when I was growing up. The State Department of Environmental Protection, whose responsibility it is to save endangered wild life, always responds to these rumors by denying them: “There are no mountain lions in Connecticut.” The DEP, however, has no interest in finding something they would have to protect.

Mountain lions have a range of up to 100 miles so the fact that you saw one doesn’t mean there has to be one living nearby. It does mean that it’s hard to prove it one way or another.

Last week, however, we received some pictures from a nearby friend (as posted here)saying that a near neighbor had taken them. Well, that gets your attention. I sent the pictures on to family – and got a skeptical response from the California branch of the family saying that these pictures were taken in Wyoming and have been circulating on the internet for some time.

Well, that’s disillusioning. Just as I was preparing to alter my life style by staying inside all day, it turns out that I don’t have to.

So I told the story to the senior warden of the church and she told me how one had run across the road in front of her not long ago. It was tawny in color and had a tail as long as the body. She pulled over to catch her breath, then called the DEP who told her “There are no mountain lions in Connecticut.” She asked, “Then what did I see?” They said, “something else.”

So you can make up your own mind. When I consider the damage done to my orchard and garden by deer, chipmunks, squirrels, ground hogs, rabbits, and other rodents and herbivores, I have always been in favor of the predators. But maybe we’ll have to settle for bears, coyotes, bob cats, and foxes for now. Seems a shame, when we could have had mountain lions. We’ll keep you informed of developments.

1 Comment

John StevensApril 4th, 2010 at 8:32 am

I just received an e-mail with these pictures attached saying that a friend of a family member living in Sharon took these pictures. Here is the message attached to the photo's. Is this the same message you saw?

few weeks ago our friends in Sharon , CT mentioned that they had seen lion tracks in the snow on their deck behind the house. They live on Sharon Mountain just south of, and overlooking Cornwall . Then a few days ago they mentioned that one of their neighbors across the road had seen a lion in the driveway in front of their house. About an hour ago they sent the pictures below. The last picture is behind their house where I think they first saw the tracks. This is one pretty good sized cat. His apparent lack of fear or respect for people makes for an uncomfortable feeling when you go outside in the middle of the day. He appears to be in good condition.

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