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Police Release Photo of Lion on School Campus [Update]

Relay for LIfe benefit relocated as state officials on the prowl as mountain lion lurks in the upper King Street area of Greenwich.

Updated 6/09/2011:

The location for the Relay For Life of Greenwich will now be held at Sono Field House, 365 Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Drive, in Norwalk.

The location change is due to the limited access in and around the King Street School grounds in Greenwich. “Learning we had to move the location of the event, we considered every available option,” said Relay For Life co-Chair Evelyn Landesman. “We are confident that our new venue will provide everyone with a fantastic Relay For Life experience,” she added.

“The Sono Field House is an amazing indoor facility and has an awesome turf field, which will be beneficial to Relayers in light of the upcoming weather forecast,” according to Aubrey Swift of the American Cancer Society. Swift applauds the many Relay volunteers who have worked to modify the event and location, and communicate these changes to teams, donors and participants.

Modified Schedule

Because of the event logistics, the entire event will now be pushed back ONE HOUR from the previously published schedule. Survivor Reception will take place at 6:00pm, and Opening Ceremonies will take place at 7:00pm. Updated activities and times are located online
www.relayforlife.org/greenwichct.
Other modifications include:
1) The Relay For Life Volunteer Committee should be at the Field House NO LATER than 3:00pm.
2) Team Campsite set up will now take place beginning at 5:00pm, allowing for two full hours to be set up before Opening Ceremonies. Set up for tents is right on the turf field, so tent stakes will not be necessary or permitted. Please bring items to weight down tents if you wish to bring them.
3) There is no food or beverages allowed on the turf. Volunteers will be setting up tables for teams to sell food and beverages onsite.
4) Parking is limited so carpooling is encouraged.
5) Closing Ceremonies will take place at 6:00am

For more information, contact Evelyn at 914-260-0944 or Kevin at 914.815-4259.

Update at June 9, 10:15 a.m.:

Greenwich Police released a photo taken of the elusive mountain lion that was taken June 5 on the King Street campus of Brunswick School.

Original story:

It was all in the paws, rather the paw prints, that all but convinced state environmental officials that there is indeed a mountain lion prowling the northwest corner of Greenwich, specifically the King Street campus of the Brunswick School.

Officials of the private all boys school have placed the campus - which abuts the Westchester County Airport - off limits to activities and are allowing only faculty and staff on the bucolic acreage that is across the road from the Fairview Country Club and just up the road from the town-owned Griffith Harris golf course.

After a day-and-a-half of speculation, the issued a statement late Wednesday afternoon saying that the large animal spotted in and around the campus in recent days does, in fact, appear to be a mountain lion.

DEP Deputy Commissioner Susan Frechette, is very likely "a mountain lion that has been held in captivity and either escaped or was released"

"Our current information, which we will continue to evaluate, is based on hazy photographs we have seen and the size of the paw prints that have been left behind," Frechette said.

The DEP said it is cooperating with local officials and its counterparts in nearby New York State to investigate the sightings. The said it has not received any reports of missing wild animals held by private farms or foundations in the area.

State DEP spokesman Dwayne Gardner said that while there have been reports of mountain lion sightings over the years, this is the first time in recent memory that officials believe the sightings are indeed a lion.

Initially, some questions remained as to whether the animal was actually a mountain lion, as the creatures haven't inhabited Eastern Seaboard for more than a century. In March, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service formally declared the animal extinct in the Northeast. The closest regions mountain lions are known to inhibit are in Missouri and southern Florida.

According to the website , “The mountain lion is tan in color, with black tipped ears and tail. Adults weigh 80 to 180 pounds and stand two to three feet high at the shoulders. The length of an adult lion is 6 to 8 feet from the nose to the tip of the tail. The tail measures one-third of the lion’s length.”

In a statement to Greenwich Patch late Wednesday, Brunswick School officials said, " a large, wild/cat lion was sited (sic) on Brunswick's King Street campus on
Sunday evening. It was also seen crossing King Street earlier in the
afternoon.

"It has not been seen on the Brunswick campus since Sunday. Brunswick has
taken all necessary precautions, based upon conversations with the
Greenwich Police, as well as the Department of Environmental Protection,
so as to ensure the safety of any programs planned on campus in the
upcoming days."

Officials for the benefit is scheduled for Friday and Saturday on the Brunswick School campus are looking for an alternative site for the cancer benefit if the animal is not found.

Organizers are concerned for the safety the 645 participants registered as of Wednesday afternoon and organizers.

On their website, officials said, “As some of you may already be aware, there have been reports of a sighting of “a large cat…” on the King Street Campus of The Brunswick School. The Department of Environmental Protection and Town Officials are working hard to locate this cat. 

In the event that the cat is not found by the event, we will need to make adjustments to ensure the safety of our participants. We are working hard to find an alternate location should this occur. We will keep you updated as soon as we are aware of any new developments. Please continue to check your email and our event website (www.relayforlife.org/greenwichct)."

Greenwich Conservation Director Denise Savageau said that if anyone happens upon a suspected mountain lion, they should “act large. Stand up tall, wave your arms and make noises. Don’t freeze. You don’t want to act like a bunny.”

By doing so, the animal more than likely will not view a human as prey, Savageau said.

She added that residents should exercise caution in trying to photograph the animal if it is spotted, preferably from the confines of a building or car.

Anyone who spots the mountain lion is asked to immediately contact local officials and the DEP's 24-hour hotline (860-423-3333). Those with information about the origin of the animal can also contact the DEP to report it anonymously.

LizJ June 14, 2011 at 08:06 PM
I hope this beautiful creature survives its taste of freedom. Unfortunately, stories like these tend to have sad endings for these lovely innocent animals.
J Gregory Lovely July 29, 2011 at 11:19 PM
I had a mountain lion cross my property in Easton a few years back (like 3) and when I notified the local police, they acted as if I was insane. I guess it is now more believable since they have been spotted and identified with some frequency now. I do adore nature and hope all can coexist without our trying to remove or extinguish them.

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