South Dakota Mountain Lion Walks to Connecticut


A cougar, dubbed the St. Croix Mountain lion — for a number of confirmed sightings in St. Croix County, Wisconsin — was hit and killed by a SUV in Milford, Connecticut on June 11, 2011.† The driver was uninjured.† The eastern mountain lion has been considered extirpated or extinct since the 1930ís, so a necropsy was performed to determine the cat’s genetic origin.

About six weeks after the death, the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP) announced the necropsy findings.† Based on tissue DNA, the 2-5 year old mountain lion was found to belong to a species originating in the Black Hills region of South Dakota.

DEEP Commissioner Daniel C. Esty had this to say:

“The journey of this mountain lion is a testament to the wonders of nature and the tenacity and adaptability of this species.† This mountain lion traveled a distance of more than 1,500 miles from its original home in South Dakota — representing one of the longest movements ever recorded for a land mammal and nearly double the distance ever recorded for a dispersing mountain lion.”

“The confirmation of a wild mountain lion in our state was the first recorded in more than 100 years,” Commissioner Esty said.† “This is the first evidence of a mountain lion making its way to Connecticut from western states and there is still no evidence indicating that there is a native population of mountain lions in Connecticut.”

It is hypothesized that over at least the last two and a half years this mountain lion made his way from South Dakota through Minnesota, Wisconsin and Michigan then into Ontario, Canada, New York and finally Connecticut.†† The confirmed sightings of this specific mountain lion in Wisconsin were determined through scat, blood and hair.

Biologists say young male mountain lions will usually travel up to an average of 100 square miles in search of a mate.† So, the St. Croix Mountain lion either didn’t find a female mountain lion during his expedition or was just very, very picky.

The tragedy is after his exhaustive journey from west to east, he became road kill.† The Cougar Rewilding Foundation says the mountain lion trekked all that way for love.† What do you think?


Photo credit by Flickr: DavidB30906

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Nina Abernathy3 years ago

Very pathetic. People drive way over the speed limit, pedal to the medal and yammer, yammer on their cell phones. Human population is ever increasing, more urban sprawl and developement. To make matters worse, birth control may soon be illegal and that means MORE AND MORE people driving and destroying wildlife habitat and more animals having no place to live or meeting a bad and painful end. When I die and go to wherever, I want to go where the cats, dogs, mountain gorillas, wild mustangs, humpback whales etc, have gone. Most people I can do without. Quite impressed by the comments here. I'm not alone. Thanks.

federico bortoletto

Grazie per la condivisione.

Tanja Z.
Tanja Zilker3 years ago


Teddie S.
Teddie S.3 years ago

Hmmmm, curious to know if maybe someone had taken a cub, to be a pet, and either it escaped or they let it loose because it became to big to handle.
1500 miles, is a long ways to go, in trying to find love, only to be killed.
Such a depressing story.

Homer Elliott
Homer E.3 years ago

evidence of what has been happening in the east occasionally, such as to PA and VT, during at least the past 20 years... restore the catamount

Scott Vonwolf
Scott haakon3 years ago

There is a mistake to see these a pets. Get near it's cubs or kill and you will find out how dangerous they are. Make no mistake that the time is coming when human animal conflict will come to the fore again.

Linda C.
Linda C.4 years ago

I think the idiot who hit him should be fined big time - I mean if it was a person........... personally I think the cat is more important

Dianne D.
Dianne D.4 years ago

So very sad. We need engineers to design highways so they are animal friendly, like under passes so animals can pass under the roads and have camera's in these area's to keep the bums out of the tunnels. Not all animals will use them but some will and once they are discovered, will teach others to use them.

Dianne Robertson
Dianne Robertson4 years ago

As a MAJOR cat lover, I am INTRIGUED by the Reason for his travel, impressed by his tenacity and heartbroken to hear of his death on the road.This story could have the makings of a great movie.The parallel to what has happened to the NATIVE AMERICAN is startling.

KrassiAWAY B.
Krasimira B.4 years ago

Heartbreaking story...