A mountain lion was spotted this week just off Route 149 and Creek Row in East Haddam, along the power-line corridor. Animal Control Officer Michael Olzacki was on his way to a residential animal-control call when he spotted the animal.
"I was shocked to see the animal in East Haddam; really shocked," Olzacki said. "I really did not expect to see a mountain lion about 30 to 40 yards from where I was sitting in my truck."
As a hunter and animal control officer, Olzacki has seen his fair share of wildlife, from bobcats to fishercats and coyotes, to name a few. Olzacki postively identified the animal by its size, round face and "whippy black-tipped tail." He also discovered partial footprints that are consistent with the size of a mountain lion.
Mark Walter, East Haddam's first selectman, would like to make the public aware of the sighting and understand that this mountain lion sighting is "credible" and real.
Recently, mountain lion and the death of one on the Wilbur Cross Parkway in Fairfield County have raised debate over their existence in Connecticut. This month, a mountain lion was also spotted in Devil's Hopyard State Park in East Haddam.
"We don't want to scare anyone," Walter said, "but, residents need to take precautions as they would with any other wildlife in the area like fisher and bobcats."
Olzacki suggests these tips in regards to any wildlife that may be in the area:
- Be sure to lock up small livestock such as goats and chickens each night.
- Be vigilant and aware of your surroundings at all times.
- Do not approach a mountain lion, bobcat, fisher cat, bear, coyote or any other wild animal. Instead, call animal control with the location of the animal and a description.
Olzacki can be reached at (860) 790-0574.
Wildlife sightings can also be reported directly to the DEEP at (860) 424-3011.
DEEP was unavailable for a comment Wednesday evening.