The Fishy CT Cougar Story

(by Weather01089)

As most of you have heard and seen, a cougar was killed on June 15 2011, in Milford CT on route 15. The immediate response of the CT DEP was that they were investigating it as an illegally released pet", aka the ole "its an escaped pet" theory.

A university became involved and did a necropsy, and samples were sent out for DNA. The Necropsy clearly showed this was no escaped pet for numerous reasons.

The DNA response came back. According to DEP, they identified the DNA as coming from a cat from South Dakota. And here comes this story of how this lone cat walked to CT from South Seem odd? Well it is.

They claimed they had matched it with DNA found in upstate NY, and in Michigan, exactly the same cat. There are some problems with this. One a quote in July 2011 (AFTER the cat was hit) from the NY wildlife agency:

"We still have no confirmed sightings of (wild) cougars in New York,” said Lori Severino, spokesperson for the state Department of Environmental Conservation. “As far as protocols go, any reported sightings or photo that get sent to us, we certainly take them seriously. But we have never confirmed a
cougar in New York state. That’s still the case.”

Well if they never confirmed a cougar, where did this alleged DNA come from? The cat would have to have been there before it got hit, and that statement was
made AFTER it got hit. (July 28, 2011, Syracuse Post Standard).

Then comes the DNA report itself. A copy was finally obtained after some runaround. It states: "Preliminary substructure analysis shows that the animal is MOST CLOSELY related to individuals from South Dakota.' Then: "This does not mean that is has a 99% chance of being directly from South Dakota, as there may be
other populations we don't have samples from. Overall it appears this male has a genetic profile similar to South Dakota Cougars".

Well, before and since, cougars from Canada were also found to have this DNA relationship. Credible experts feel that since the cougar ranged all of the Northern US and Canada at one point, that there really is no "eastern Cougar" subspecies, and that they are actually the same species. The letter also states
that a sample from Dec 17,2010 from a site in Lake George NY, was identified as a cougar.

How odd. New York and Michigan at that point claimed they had never confirmed a
cougar. Yet, this cat is hit in Milford CT., and all these suddenly pop up.

The Tale of the cat travelling from South Dakota is at best a pretty weak
theory, scientifically dubious, and rather incredible. Its far more likely the origin
of this cat is FAR closer, if not a wandering resident. This story put out is
quite the stretch... and the probability leans pretty heavy that the cats origin is MUCH closer.


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