Stamford Advocate

Cougar sighting reported in New Canaan

- By Grace Duffield

A fourth cougar sighting in recent days was reported near the New Canaan border Thursday, according to Animal Control officer Allyson Halm. The large cat was seen on Hoyt Farm Road not far from Route 123 near the Norwalk-New Canaan border.

“I was hoping for tracks after the rain, but the area was not conducive for it,” Halm said. Since a mountain lion’s territory is “fairly large, hopefully it keeps moving,” she said.

The large tan cat — also known as a mountain lion, puma or panther — is native to the Americas, according to the National Wildlife Federation Website. However, the species of large cat is not native to the state of Connecticu­t. In 2011, a young, male cougar was killed in Connecticu­t after traveling roughly 1,500 from South Dakota.

Halms believes bobcat, bear and moutain lion sightings have increased over the last decade. “I believe that their prey have adapted to suburban life and predators follow their prey,” Halm said.

Cougars can be found “wherever deer are found,” according to California Department of Fish and Wildlife website. Though they primarily eat deer, if allowed, they will prey on vulnerable pets and livestock.

The large cats vary in body size depending on geographic location, but generally, males weigh between 115 and 220 pounds and females weigh between 64 and 141 pounds, according to the Wildlife Federation Website.

In extremely rare cases, people have fallen prey to cougars.

“Healthy wildlife as a rule are not dangerous, we are not their prey. Their flight drive should remain stronger than their fight drive,” Halm said.

Other wild cats can be found in New Canaan as well. “We get, now, routine bobcat sightings border to border. We know they live and breed in New Canaan,” Halm said.

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