When I’m not obsessing over my decorating plans for the new house, I’m obsessing over mountain lions because…well…we got ’em. In case you haven’t heard the exciting/depressing news out of Connecticut, here’s a little synopsis: People in Greenwich reported seeing a Mountain Lion and eventually managed to get pictures and a big kitty stool sample to prove they weren’t mistaking bobcats or the neighbor’s golden retriever for a Cougar. Then, a few days after it was confirmed that there was, in fact, a mountain lion stalking the wealthy people of Greenwich, one was hit by a car on the Wilbur Cross Parkway in Milford (really pretty far from Greenwich).
Can you imagine looking out your window and seeing this?
I’ll admit, I’ve been more than a little fascinated by cougar sightings in my home state over the past few years. Bear, bobcat, and even moose have become common sightings but the mountain lion has remained an enigma. The DEP has insisted that we do not have a breeding population despite dozens, if not hundreds of reported sightings a year. Certainly some of these folks wouldn’t know a mountain lion from a leopard if they both showed up on their porch, but many of the sightings come from experienced woodsmen and nature lovers. I’m certain that if I got a good look at the critter, I could tell the difference — and I’d be annoyed if I called up the DEP and they told me I probably saw a coyote.
More importantly, the DEP seems to have lost some credibility here. For years they’ve insisted there were no mountain lions. Now one shows up in one of the busiest parts of the state. I mean, if one was out in Litchfield County it would be less surprising, but Greenwich? So when people out in Woodstock (I’ve lived here all my life and I don’t even really know where that is), or Simsbury, or Kent say they’ve seen a mountain lion it’s not hard to believe. As I’ve started to look into this more and more, it seems that many of the sightings come from the same area — sometimes even the same stretch of road. Could all those people be wrong about what they’re seeing? At this point, it’s hard to believe the DEP at all.
I’m heading up to the Appalachian Trail this weekend, and you better believe I’ll be keeping my eyes peeled for big, bloodthirsty cats.