I wrote here in the Lakeville Journal about the Mountain Lion that was struck and killed by a car in Milford, CT, among other incipient arrivals in western New England. Fair use excerpt:
"The Connecticut Department of Environmental Protection is working on the standard hypothesis that this was an illegally held captive animal that somehow got loose, perhaps wandering over from New York, as the eastern mountain lion is officially extinct outside of the Florida panther subspecies.
Preliminary investigation of the specimen, however, confirmed that it had not been neutered or declawed and was a lean animal, which does not strengthen that hypothesis, so they are waiting for DNA tests.
Moose have been known to wander to Long Island Sound, but it is hard to imagine a viable population of cougars becoming established on Connecticut’s Gold Coast. The western mountain lion, however, visits backyard swimming pools and overlaps with encroaching development in the wildland/urban interface. They are expanding their ranges east and, like the coyote before them, it is only a matter of time before a few of these big cats wander into our region (if, indeed, they have not already done so).
Wildlife officials often say that if we had mountain lions here, there would be physical evidence from collisions with cars. There is one such example of that now, and it will be very interesting to learn whether this was truly someone’s pet or a long-ranging pioneer from Illinois and points west."