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DNA Testing Shows Dead Connecticut Mountain Lion Came from South Dakota

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July 27, 2011
DNA Testing Shows Dead Connecticut Mountain Lion Came from South Dakota - 6

 

In what has to rank as one of the most bizarre yet fascinating outdoor tales we've heard of in years, biologists have now confirmed that the mountain lion struck and killed by a Tucson in Connecticut was originally from South Dakota! Confused? Okay, let's back up.

In early June, I reported on a spate of mountain lion sightings in Fairfield County Connecticut. Before the Connecticut Department of Environmental Protection and state police could even get rolling on their investigation, a mountain lion turned up dead on the Wilbur Cross Parkway—run over in the dead of night by a motorist in a Hyundai Tucson. Considering that the last confirmed mountain lion sighting in Connecticut was a century ago, the DEP was quick to conclude that the cat was likely someone's pet that had somehow escaped captivity. When their search for mountain lion permitees turned up nothing, the hunt for a better explanation as to the cat's origins and movements was on. The long-awaited necropsy results  tell an incredible tale.

DNA tests reveal that the Connecticut cat had the same genetic structure as do mountain lions from the Black Hills of South Dakota. So how did the animal get from the Black Hills to the Gold Coast of Connecticut? Well, it walked. 

Biologists with the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Forest Service Wilidlife Genetics Laboratory in Missoula, Montana discovered that the Connecticut cat's DNA matched samples collected from eastern Minnesota and northern Wisconsin in 2009 and 2010. There, DNA samples were collected from scat, blood and hair found in the vicinity of several reported mountain lion sightings. The 2,000 mile trek from South Dakota to Connecticut is likely the longest such journey by a land mammal ever recorded.

 

Comments (6)

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from CCMJS wrote 2 years 37 weeks ago

Look at a map. No way did that cat walk that far, no way. Countless rivers to swim, highways to cross, cities to avoid, impossible.

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from mckmatt wrote 2 years 38 weeks ago

It looks like it may be a older cat, but I am far from and expert I havent even ever seen one in real life except at zoos, but the color looks faded, It seems like though if it was old and traveled around a hundred or so miles a year it would be real possible.

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from GoldToyBox wrote 2 years 38 weeks ago

Still not sure I believe it.
Do believe it's the same cat but that's a long way for a cat to travel and not find a home.

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from DSMbirddog wrote 2 years 38 weeks ago

That was quite a journey. Thanks for the clarification Gary. One summer I worked for the IA DNR radio tagging deer. A buck that was tagged near Ames, IA was killed in I35 on the north side of Kansas City, MO a few months later. Some animals are just wanderers.

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from GerryBethge wrote 2 years 38 weeks ago

DNA was a match

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from DSMbirddog wrote 2 years 38 weeks ago

Wow, that seems like a stretch to buy into that theory. Did the DNA actually match or just was it generally consistent with other cats in MN or WI?

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from DSMbirddog wrote 2 years 38 weeks ago

That was quite a journey. Thanks for the clarification Gary. One summer I worked for the IA DNR radio tagging deer. A buck that was tagged near Ames, IA was killed in I35 on the north side of Kansas City, MO a few months later. Some animals are just wanderers.

+3 Good Comment? | | Report
from GerryBethge wrote 2 years 38 weeks ago

DNA was a match

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from DSMbirddog wrote 2 years 38 weeks ago

Wow, that seems like a stretch to buy into that theory. Did the DNA actually match or just was it generally consistent with other cats in MN or WI?

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from GoldToyBox wrote 2 years 38 weeks ago

Still not sure I believe it.
Do believe it's the same cat but that's a long way for a cat to travel and not find a home.

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from mckmatt wrote 2 years 38 weeks ago

It looks like it may be a older cat, but I am far from and expert I havent even ever seen one in real life except at zoos, but the color looks faded, It seems like though if it was old and traveled around a hundred or so miles a year it would be real possible.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from CCMJS wrote 2 years 37 weeks ago

Look at a map. No way did that cat walk that far, no way. Countless rivers to swim, highways to cross, cities to avoid, impossible.

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