Mountain Lion Walked 1,500 Miles

A single male mountain lion walked from South Dakota to Connecticut totaling about 1,500 miles. Lab tests showed the mountain lion’s genes matched those of South Dakota population. They also matched DNA samples collected in Minnesota and Wisconsin. The Minnesota samples were taken in 2009 and Wisconsin in 2010, presumably as the big cat wandered east towards Connecticut. Very sadly, it was hit by an SUV at the end of its very long walk one night and was killed. Being hit by vehicles is a common cause of  death for mountain lions, simply because there isn’t very much undeveloped land left for them to move freely within.

“It is a testament to the adaptability of the species that it can travel so far from its original home in South Dakota to Connecticut,” said Daniel Esty, a state of Connecticut environmental official. (Source:

It was reported what the cat’s route to Connecticut was after Wisconsin, but it might have gone down into Illinois, skirted Chicago and then into Indiana. From there it would have crossed Ohio, Pennsylvania, and lower New York state, before hitting Connecticut. Who knows exactly what caused it to travel so far, and if it would have known how to return to South Dakota. A mountain lion had not been confirmed in Connecticut for over 100 years. Decades ago they roamed the entire lower 48 states. However, they were wiped out due to aggressive extermination programs.

Most mountain lions don’t venture further than one hundred miles outside the area where they are born. Fifteen Western states have wild mountain lion populations. South Dakota has been staging annual hunts, even though their population is not very large, and even some of the kittens get killed. In thirteen states mountain lions are considered a games species and are hunted.

In Florida they are teetering on the brink of extinction and are protected as endangered species. The law does not prevent them from being struck by vehicles, however, and such collisions are killing them continually. Defenders of Wildlife says there are only about 30,000 remaining in the U.S. Eastern cougars were declared extinct this year.

Image Credit: Brian Lammers

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Nimue Pendragon
Nimue Pendragon2 years ago

Poor creature.

Gene Sengstake
Gene Sengstake2 years ago

And now he is dead - - - perhaps better to be killed being hit by an SUV and hopefully not having suffered - than to have been shot and possibly wounded by authorities - thus learning the hard way that these two-legged creatures don’t want him in their world. These human beings that cry out to save him from extinction - yet allow him to be trapped and shot because he is in their way - to be exterminated if he steps foot outside the slowly shrinking boundaries that now define his world. Whether Mountain Lion or Monarch Butterfly - these animals don’t stand a chance against the encroachment of civilization - whose once home or migration route is now your backyard - - -

Darla Taylor
Darla Taylor3 years ago

How interesting that the mountain lion walked so far and how sad that he was struck by a vehicle and killed.

Emily Drew
Emily Drew3 years ago

So sad. And they should not be allowed to be hunted!!!!

Lenee K.
Lenee K.3 years ago

Gosh - so sad! Action needed

Eco M I A MoonWalk Again

Thank you for taking time to share with us your post and information.

Eddie C.
Past Member 3 years ago

S. Dakota needs to stop the hunts.

New G.
New G.3 years ago

Thank you.

Lynne S.
Lynne S.3 years ago

It is too bad that after all that walking it was hit by an suv! Wouldn't it be nice to know where the mountain lion was going? Why did it walk 1500 miles? After all that one thinks he would be smart enough to avoid cars...( Why are the comments about hunters - this article is not about hunting)

Kathy Perez
Kathy Johnson3 years ago