Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Connecticut D.E.E.P. Wildlife Biologist Presents Mountain Lion in the State at Open House Day

Aton Forest Open House on Oct. 1 was a highly informative and fun day. Although the rain prevented guided hikes, the delicious lunch and presentation were well attended. Paul Rego, Wildlife Biologist with the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection, gave a lecture entitled "Fur Bearing Mammals of Connecticut." He presented detailed accounts of black bear, fisher, bobcat, and most excitingly, mountain lion. Mr. Rego was the primary biologist involved in the identification of the mountain lion who was struck and killed on the Wilbur Cross Parkway in Milford on June 11, 2011. He was able to positively identify the cougar as originating in the Black Hills of South Dakota, and map the cat's journey across the country to Connecticut. This healthy male cougar left signs as he traveled, including scat, that enabled scientists to confirm his path through the U.S. The animal was not a captive or a pet; he was a healthy, wild cougar who was able to travel over 2000 miles with adequate food and cover, and remained in perfect health until he was hit by a car in the crowded, road traversed northeastern United States. This finding represents the very first certain identification of cougar in Connecticut in our time.