Mountain lion warning issued for Greenwich, Conn.

August 11, 2011 5:14:39 PM PDT
Reports of mountain lion sightings at a gated community in Greenwich prompted warnings for residents to take precautions, just in case the wild mountain lion killed in Connecticut in June isn't the only one roaming the state, a property manager said Thursday.

Brian McCabe from McGrath Management Services, which cares for The Chieftains gated community, said he received two reports of homeowners seeing a mountain lion last week. McCabe said he notified Greenwich police and officials at the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection.

"It's better to be careful than not," McCabe said.

A letter sent to residents of the community that abuts wildlife conservation areas urged them to take care, especially with young children and dogs, The Greenwich Time reported. The managers also warned residents about walking during dawn or dusk when mountain lions would be particularly active.

In June, a mountain lion was killed by an SUV on the Wilbur Cross Parkway in the New Haven suburb of Milford. Authorities later determined it was the first confirmed wild mountain lion found in Connecticut in 100 years, and that it had originated in South Dakota.

Dennis Schain at the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection said his agency was aware of the latest sighting, but there was no evidence supporting the existence of another mountain lion.

Schain said the department gets periodic calls about unusual wildlife sightings that often can't be confirmed. The department doesn't believe the state has a native population of mountain lions, but some wildlife experts say there's a chance a small group of mountain lions lives in the state.

Bobcats, coyotes and dogs are often confused for mountain lions, environmental officials say.

"We definitely respect the fact that people saw something," Schain said.

But Schain said the department doesn't have any permanent mountain lion monitoring stations like western states and can only investigate individual claims and evidence from called-in reports.