Mysterious mountain lion killed on Connecticut highway

Reuters News
Posted: Jun 14, 2011 12:09 AM

BOSTON (Reuters) - A mountain lion that may have been the same big cat spotted in a New York City suburb a week ago, was hit and killed early on Saturday morning on a highway in Milford, Connecticut, officials said.

The 140-pound mountain lion may be the same enormous cat with a long tail spotted last weekend roaming the posh neighborhoods of Greenwich, Connecticut, some 30 miles away.

With no native mountain lion population in the state, "it's possible and even likely" it is the same animal, said Department of Environmental Protection spokesman Dennis Schain.

The eastern mountain lion was officially declared extinct earlier this year, prompting authorities to suspect the animal spotted in the New York City-area suburb was likely escaped or released from captivity.

The closest confirmed population of mountain lions is in Missouri.

The mountain lion was hit around 1:00 a.m. local time by a small SUV and died from its injuries. The driver was unhurt, a environmental department statement said.

The large cat was transferred to a state environmental facility where authorities will use the photos, paw prints and other evidence collected near the three Greenwich sightings to determine if it is the same animal.

Traveling between the two cities would be a jaunt for this large cat known to roam extensively, even up to a couple hundred miles in a day, said Schain.

(Reporting by Lauren Keiper;)