Update: 4:45 p.m.
Greenwich Conservation Director Denise Savageau said the mountain lion has been extinct along the Eastern seaboard and is only found in Florida.
“The reports were of a large cat with a long tail,” Savageau told Patch Tuesday afternoon. “In many instances we will find that they are actually coyotes or bobcats; that is one of the things we’re trying to determine.”
So it remains unclear whether a mountain lion was indeed spotted on the King Street campus of the Brunswick School, adjacent to the Westchester County Airport. There have been three reported sightings made to Greenwich Police since May 31, the latest being Sunday.
If there is a mountain lion in the area, Savageau said, “Chances are it is a cat that was illegally captive and let go or it escaped.”
If there is a mountain lion, coyote, bobcat or bear are spotted, Savageau urged residents to “act large. Stand up tall, wave your arms and make noises. Don’t freeze. You don’t want to act like a bunny.” By acting large and making noise, the large animal more than likely will not view a human as prey.
“It is most important for people not to feed their pets outside or the birds. Now that the weather is warmer, take in the bird feeders. Coyotes and black bears love birdseed and they love the rodents who love to feed on the birdseed,” Savageau also said.
“Eliminate the food sources,” she said.
Savageau said that Greenwich Police showed her “some blurry photos” of the animal spotted on the King Street school campus. “…but they were unable to confirm with me or the state DEP if it was a mountain lion, Savageau said.
She also said that if someone does see a large animal near their home or in their neighborhood, “remember it’s safety first” before pulling out the camera or cellphone to capture an image.
The only naturally occurring large, wild cat in Connecticut is the bobcat. Once rare, bobcats are now found statewide.
“Healthy wild animals are rarely aggressive toward humans,” said Rick Jacobson, Director of the DEP Wildlife Division. Jacobson added, “we simply recommend residents remain vigilant in supervising children and pets when outdoors.”
Savageau said because of the mountain lion extinction in Connecticut, there aren't many fact sheets available on dealing with the large cats. Greenwich Police issued a link to a safety and fact sheet offered by Colorado wildlife officials which can be viewed here:
A message seeking comment from school officials was not immediately answered.
The Greenwich Police Department has had three reported sightings of a large cat in the King Street in the northwest corner area of town since May 31.
On Sunday evening, several Brunswick School faculty members observed what they described as a mountain lion on the King Street Campus, which abuts the Westchester County Airport and Rye Lake Drive. The large cat was observed near the wooded area and walked off into the heavy brush. The cat also was observed by a crew from GEMS.
Police said that the animal did not approach any humans or domestic animals.
In a statement, police said the sightings are being investigated by wildlife and conservation experts and they urge residents to be extra vigilant in dealing with large wildlife.