Just a few weeks after a reported mountain lion sighting on Hoyt Farms Road, a couple about two miles south on Sunday morning told authorities that one of the big cats walked through their back yard, officials say.
The White Oak Shade Lane couple “saw what they described as a large brown feline with a long tail” and confirmed that it was a mountain lion and not a bobcat when asked to compare photos of the separate species, according to Animal Control Officer Allyson Halm.
“I believe this was a credible sighting,” she said. The couple did not capture a photo of the animal.
Mountain lions have been known to travel through Fairfield County in the past.
In 2016, a woman reported seeing a mountain lion on a Fox Run Road property in New Canaan, though state officials said they were unable to confirm the sighting based on paw prints left by the animal. More sightings that Halm deemed credible came in 2018 from Nursery, Marvin Ridge and Briscoe Roads.
Halm noted that the route between the two recent sightings appears to be straight south.
“Our wildlife is prolific and this may be a new common occurrence, as bear are,” she said. “Now bear is common. I don’t even get coyote calls anymore because it’s so common.”
Also known as ‘cougars’ or ‘pumas,’ mountain lions are reclusive creatures that feed mainly on deer, raccoons, rodents and various small mammals, experts say. Ten years ago, a mountain lion made regional headlines after it was photographed in Greenwich and later struck and killed by a motor vehicle on the parkway in Milford—a young male that DEEP officials determined through DNA evidence had traveled east all the way from South Dakota. That’s a distance of more than 1,500 miles—one of the longest journeys ever recorded of a land mammal in North America, and more than twice the distance ever recorded for a dispersing mountain lion.
According to the Mountain Lion Foundation, a nonprofit conservation and education organization, the animals seek to avoid humans, though unprotected pets can make for easy prey.