— Genetic testing determined that a mountain lion killed on a highway in Milford, Conn., last month was originally from a population in the Black Hills of South Dakota, officials reported Tuesday.
"The journey of this mountain lion is a testament to the wonders of nature and the tenacity and adaptability of this species," Daniel Esty, head of the state's environmental protection agency, said in a statement. "This mountain lion traveled a distance of more than 1,500 miles from its original home in South Dakota — representing one of the longest movements ever recorded for a land mammal and nearly double the distance ever recorded for a dispersing mountain lion."
The same mountain lion, or cougar, had been tracked in Minnesota and Wisconsin, explaining part of its journey across the country.
"The confirmation of a wild mountain lion in our state was the first recorded in more than 100 years," Esty said. "This is the first evidence of a mountain lion making its way to Connecticut from western states and there is still no evidence indicating that there is a native population of mountain lions in Connecticut."
Mountain lions seldom travel more than 100 miles as they seek their own territory as well as companionship.