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Possible mountain lion spotted around Greenwich, Connecticut

By Julie Cannold, CNN
There is no native population of mountain lions in Connecticut.
There is no native population of mountain lions in Connecticut.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Authorities believe the large cat either escaped or was released from captivity
  • The cat was last spotted Sunday on the campus of a college prep school
  • No damage or injuries have been reported
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(CNN) -- Authorities believe a large cat that has been spotted around the town of Greenwich, Connecticut, is a mountain lion that either escaped or was released from captivity.

The cat was last spotted on the campus of the Brunswick School in the King Street area of Greenwich, according to a police report filed this week.

Based on photographs and paw prints left behind, authorities say, it appears the animal is a mountain lion, according to the state Department of Environmental Protection.

There is no native population of mountain lions in Connecticut, and the eastern mountain lion was declared extinct in March by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

"Although there is no population of mountain lions in the Northeast, we believe that this animal may very likely be a mountain lion that has been held in captivity and either escaped or was released," Department of Environmental Protection Deputy Commissioner Susan Frechette said in a statement.

Denise Savageau, director of the Greenwich Conservation Department, is warning residents to stay smart and aware in the event they come across the animal.

"We don't anticipate that this is a threat in terms of any likelihood of attack," Savageau said. "Mountain lion attacks are very rare. That said, it is a predator, so you have to be cautious. Make sure that young children and pets are always supervised outside."

If people do encounter the cat, Savageau advises, "remain faced at the animal, act large, stand up straight, put arms in the air, wave, make a lot of noise, be aggressive, throw sticks and stones. You want the animal to know you're in charge."

No sightings of the cat have been reported since the one at Brunswick School on Sunday, according to Savageau. She also noted that mountain lions have a very large range and the animal could have traveled up to 300 miles since it was last seen.

No damage or injuries have been reported from the cat's presence in the town, Lt. Kraig Gray of the Greenwich Police said.

Anyone who sees the animal should call the Department of Environmental Protection at 860-423-3333.

 
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