So, you think you saw a mountain lion in CT?

This transpired a 10 years ago, or more.

Immediately after covering some assembly in Kent, I drove dwelling at evening. Near the Kent-Warren border, one thing ran throughout the street in entrance of my auto.

Not a deer. Not a coyote. As well significant to be a bobcat, I considered, but a large cat with a prolonged tail.

My God, I thought … a mountain lion? A catamount? A ghost?

But it was darkish. I experienced my minimal-beams on. I was exhausted. I observed the factor for possibly two seconds.

Just after pondering about it for a lot of a long time, I have concluded: I and my lying eyes never know what it was.

Which is why I am both of those sympathetic and a doubting Robert when new sightings of mountain lions pop up, as they do in the state each individual 12 months or two — the most up-to-date becoming in Woodbridge.

We know this can materialize. In 2011, a automobile struck down a mountain lion on the Wilbur Cross Parkway in Milford.

But that was the past verified sighting of a mountain lion in Connecticut.

As with the Woodbridge sighting, the mountain lion stories because 2011 are only what men and women observed, or assume they noticed. Despite the ubiquity of cellphones, no one’s clicked a picture.

This puts the point out Section of Power and Environmental Defense in the unenviable placement of currently being the naysayer, the killjoy, the skunk in the backyard garden. People today say they saw a mountain lion. The DEEP wants evidence.

“I assume I’d characterize it as a problem,” explained Jenny Dickson, director of DEEP’s wildlife division, of its mountain lion analysis responsibilities.

It is not that the condition doesn’t want to have a further mountain lion, Dickson claimed

“First, we love wildlife. Why would not we want to see anything as interesting as a mountain lion?” she claimed. “Second, assume of the funding that would be out there to study mountain lions if we experienced them in the point out.’’

But, Dickson stated, DEEP proceeds on science and evidence. That’s lacking with all the mountain lion sightings that take place.

Proof could occur from character cams, which tons of groups and persons set up to see what’s wandering by. The 1,600-acre Terrific Hollow Mother nature Maintain and Ecological Analysis Heart in New Fairfield has these types of cameras.

But the preserve’s Government Director Chad Seewagen mentioned there’s no mountain lion footage there.

“We by no means obtained one particular on our cameras,” he reported.

Nor, has anyone else.

There’s also the challenge of road kills.

Florida is the only state in the jap U.S. that has a mountain lion populace. Florida’s are an endangered species, with maybe only 200 to 230 of the large cats roaming the state’s 67,755 square miles. There are, nevertheless, about 25 panthers killed by vehicles there every calendar year.

Connecticut has only 5,543 square miles. It has loads of streets and lots of autos on individuals streets. But other than the 2011 killing on the Wilbur Cross, there’s hasn’t been yet another confirmed mountain lion-auto incident in the point out.

Tim Abbott, conservation and Greenprint director for the Housatonic Valley Association, primarily based in Cornwall, stated he’s listened to numerous statements of mountain lion sightings above the a long time.

He’s also heard statements that DEEP doesn’t want to accept their existence mainly because there would be a further endangered species to offer with.

But the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Provider declared the japanese mountain lion extinct in 2011 and eliminated it from the endangered species checklist. Consequently Abbott said, those statements go away.

Abbott said if mountain lions were breeding in the state, they’d do very well listed here. Connecticut has heaps of woods for cover and tons of white-tailed deer to eat. But, he reported, that is not happening.

Abbott acknowledged that mountain lions out west have large ranges. It is conceivable, he claimed, that like the 2011 mountain lion, which took a two-year journey to Connecticut from South Dakota, others may well at times flip up in this article. But he mentioned, the odds of viewing one are “infinitesimally compact.”

So why do people today see mountain lions? Simply because, like me, they want to.

They are major, gorgeous predators. They lived listed here after, right before we deforested the condition and extirpated them. They’re uncommon. Looking at a person would be rarer nonetheless.

Here’s the rub. Plenty of bobcats are in the point out nowadays. Persons looking at 1 for the 1st time may well make the leap to catamount.

“I absolutely fully grasp,” DEEP’s Dickson reported. “But we want the science to again it up.’’

Call Robert Miller at