Alert: Mountain Lion Sighted in East Haddam

The animal was seen by Animal Control Officer Michael Olzacki off Route 149.

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.

milton milford November 04, 2011 at 05:09 PM
Mixing myth and local legend while searching for cryptids seems to confuse the issue at hand, especially when proof of an isolated individual or two from a look-alike extant species provides additional grist. List of cryptids http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_cryptids Name: Phantom cat Other names: Alien Big Cats (ABCs) Status: Proposed escaped animals Description: Carnivorous mammal Location: Worldwide Phantom cat (e.g., a cougar) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Phantom_cat For future reference, below are definitions of two terms, koougar and koougaruke. A koougar is ANY animal, except a cougar, that is alleged to be a mountain lion; also includes mental images derived from the imagination, which are used to allege the presence of a puma. A koogaruke is a person who repeatedly and steadfastly believes that a koougar is actually a cougar, especially when supporting evidence is insurmountably inadequate.
Gene Bartholomew November 04, 2011 at 05:38 PM
way to go Milt, you solved the case!!! your phantom cat on wiki also contains this statement: This article has multiple issues. Please help improve it or discuss these issues on the talk page. It needs additional citations for verification. Tagged since July 2008. Its neutrality is disputed. Tagged since March 2009. It may be unbalanced towards certain viewpoints. Tagged since March 2009. multiple issues and unbalanced, did you submit it?? it is apparently a complete falacy that no one has ever heard of
Gene Bartholomew November 04, 2011 at 05:44 PM
I didn't post the comments Froderick. You're the spreader of mis-information because you can't deal with facts, you are undoubtedly unable to see facts that do not agree with your perception of reality, you have decided that ML's cannot be in CT and that is your entire basis for argument, yet you refuse to answer one simple question. why do you think DEEP changed from stating that: " there are no Mountain Lions in CT, just this one that was hit by a car" to " there is no breeding population in CT"
Gene Bartholomew November 04, 2011 at 05:57 PM
So everyone please be aware that you are not seeing a Cougar, you are seeing a Phantom Cat that is all in your mind. You know Milt, you really crack me up, its like dealing with a Palin or W supporter, thick to the very end. So lets say all the people that have been seeing ML's since 1990 would be to you wrong and seeing things. Then when one is hit by a car in Milford on the highway of all places this to you does not prove their existence, you would just buy into the govt rant that this was an amazing one of a kind cat and the only one to ever make this journey. Its amazing how the republican mind works, you probably still think that giving all of our tax dollars to large corporations who only give themselves bonuses with it is a good plan.
milton milford November 04, 2011 at 08:08 PM
So Gene, given all your "research," is there a breeding population of mountain lions in Connecticut?
Gene Bartholomew November 05, 2011 at 01:07 PM
whats a breeding population? 1 pair?, 2 pair, 7 pair?, how many mates are required to breed before the govt says "ok you got us,there is a bredding population" you still didn't answer the question why do you think DEEP changed from stating that: " there are no Mountain Lions in CT, just this one that was hit by a car" to " there is no breeding population in CT" ???????????????
Gene Bartholomew November 05, 2011 at 01:37 PM
Some facts: A capable stalk-and-ambush predator, the cougar pursues a wide variety of prey. Primary food sources include ungulates such as deer, elk, moose, and bighorn sheep, as well as domestic cattle, horses and sheep, particularly in the northern part of its range. It will also hunt species as small as insects and rodents. This cat prefers habitats with dense underbrush and rocky areas for stalking, but it can also live in open areas. Ct, especially our area is made up of dense underbrush and rocky areas with tins of deer and small prey, plenty of it. The deer population here is unbalanced (thanks to us), in fact if you look at deer populations and where they are high, like Texas, all around the Great Lakes to Penn and NY, WV and Georgia you also find a high incidence of people reporting ML sightings and encounters. They are following the food, nothing odd or mysterious about that. They mostly hunt at night, they do not like people and avoid them, hence few sightings, even in California where there are 4-6,000. I found this interesting: capable of killing mid-sized predators such as bobcats and coyotes and tend to suppress their numbers. I have been noticing fewer and fewer coyotes, I had attributed this to hunters because they will always mistakenly blame a wild predator for taking their prey or cutting numbers as will fishermen, when it is us. However the deer population is climbing. Perhaps it is not hunters cutting the coyote population??
milton milford November 05, 2011 at 06:20 PM
I provided a thought concerning what constitutes a population earlier: "When the people of Connecticut verify female mountain lions and recruitment of cubs, and genetic analyses of those individuals shows their relatedness, then we will know there is a resident population. We are shy that evidence. People who have seen a cougar or its sign can help. Those who believe they have seen a mountain lion, but have not, do not help." Milford Mountain Lion Trekked From South Dakota 10:51pm on Tuesday, August 16, 2011 http://canton-ct.patch.com/articles/milford-mountain-lion-trekked-from-south-dakota#comment_1243725 Also here: Milford Mountain Lion Trekked From South Dakota 2:23pm on Saturday, August 6, 2011 http://canton-ct.patch.com/articles/milford-mountain-lion-trekked-from-south-dakota#comment_1183077 But you should inquire of people who have dealt with very small populations, for example, Florida. (Recall their population once fell below 30 as it faded toward extinction prior to rebounding to where it is today.) A small population also appears to be recolonizing portions of Nebraska; ask them. -- As to your other (incessant) question, see my previous comment: 4:15pm on Tuesday, November 1, 2011 Why, what is your hang up with that anyway; are you planning to release some?
milton milford November 05, 2011 at 06:52 PM
Above (1:57pm on Friday, November 4, 2011) Gene stated, "So everyone please be aware that you are not seeing a Cougar, you are seeing a Phantom Cat that is all in your mind.” You are twisting it again, Gene. But, of course, that's par for the course with you. An inherent aspect of alleged cougar sightings seems to be that some people appear compelled to challenge anyone who might be skeptical of sightings. Inevitably, a fraction of them even resort to bashing those who question such alleged sightings. Yet the Internet alone provides one example after another where an alleged cougar sighting turned out to be nothing more than a house cat, bobcat, or whatever. There are also examples of stories, which supposedly involved a cougar, that had been totally fabricated. Some have even gone so far as to manufacture bogus evidence!! Therefore, just as we know that any sighting might be valid, we also know that an alleged sighting could be false. Moreover, where mountain lions in the East are concerned, an overwhelming number of alleged sightings are indeed false. Thus, physical evidence is essential. This is what I have previously stated: Without additional evidence, readers, like me, cannot know which, if any, alleged sightings are accurate. Why is it so hard to admit that mountain lions live in Connecticut? 6:38pm on Monday, June 27, 2011 http://danbury.patch.com/articles/why-is-it-so-hard-to-admit-that-mountain-lions-live-in-connecticut#comment_961640
milton milford November 05, 2011 at 07:18 PM
Do you "research" FOX, as well as cougars and coyotes?
Gene Bartholomew November 06, 2011 at 01:58 PM
yep, Fox er, fauxnews, is largely funded by the Koch bros (who also fund and are now in control of the Tea Party and Cain) as well as other large corporations. They have begun (since the major loss in 2006 & 2008) of mixing in credible commentators with their usual scripted shows to try to gain some credibility, but the fact remains that they are a GOP propaganda tool to the extreme, going as far to say from 2000-2008 that we must be behind GW no matter what he says, does or wants because he is the President and the nation must be behind their President no matter what (wave the flag, blah blah, blah) except of course if the President is a democrat, that alone destroys their credibility as being "fair and balanced". Hiring Palin is another joke, but she she is capable of speaking to "them" on their 8th grade level.
Gene Bartholomew November 06, 2011 at 02:04 PM
I'm sorry, did you FOX the faux cable show, or Fox the animal? I'm also sarcastic, mainly sarcastic, which does not come out in print.
Gene Bartholomew November 06, 2011 at 02:14 PM
slight change of subject but I found this not only hysterical but educational as well, from Jim Shea's column today, see of you get this: A CEO, Tea Party Activist, and a Union employee are sitting at a table with a dozen cookies in front of them, the CEO takes eleven cookies, leans over to the Tea party activist and out of the side of his mouth says, "look out, that union guy wants a piece of your cookie".
Bonny Zalewski November 24, 2011 at 12:08 PM
Well, It's been merely a few weeks since the sighting of a mountain lion the next street over from my house. Now my dog is missing... Very unlike her.... I believe SOMETHING has gotten her =(
Darrell Lucas November 24, 2011 at 07:55 PM
You dog was picked up by space aliens... Most likely. If DEEP denies it then it prob true. Ask Gene. He says there could be a hundred Cougars running around CT.
Barbi Batchelder November 24, 2011 at 08:21 PM
Darrell...I usually enjoy your comments and your input on Patch...but this one is NOT funny. Someone is missing an important member of their family right now, and needs our support. Kind words of support (some prayers, perhaps?) could be important.
Darrell Lucas November 25, 2011 at 01:08 AM
Your right. I sometimes have a crude and immature sense of humor.
Gene Bartholomew November 25, 2011 at 03:15 PM
Darrel, you certainly have an issue with facts. I said Ct could probably sustain about 100 or so, California has 5,000, we have lots of woods, lots of cliff and rock, and lots of food, sad fact is biologists and others are still learning about them, what was thought to be fact is now known to be wrong or variable, like the size of their range and the distances they will travel to find their own range, I also believe that their range sizes will decrease in an area with an abundance of food, simple logic, they won't travel if food is readily available, but out west and mid west there is a lot of open land and food is spread out so their range is also greater to match that. Coyotes are not indigenous to the East Coast, yet they have spread across the country and this fact is accepted because the govt said so, not because people saw them, and they did in the 70's and 80's and they were told the same thing and ridiculed by people who can't get beyond One Dimensional Thinking. They can't grasp that another animal could achieve the same thing. Bonnie, sorry for your loss, what kind of dog was she? Although many people lose cats, dogs are also at risk, especially small dogs and lone dogs. Coyotes and Fishers are both a threat, not necessarily a ML, Black Bears have contradictory information about their attacks on pets, but they will attack livestock and are opportunists so I think that if hungry enough they would take a pet. Ct is a dangerous place for pets.
Gene Bartholomew November 29, 2011 at 02:26 PM
Here's the cptv special, including the interview with EH AC and other witnesses. Note the repeated statement by DEEP, which has changed from NO mountain lions, to NO breeding population, this is a step back in order to save face, by stating there is no breeding population they are acknowledging that they are here without stating they lied or were told to disavow any knowledge. This I believe comes from the fact that US Fish and Wildlife declared them extinct just as sightings in the entire Northeast from Penn to Maine are on a dramatic rise since the mid 2000's. http://www.cptv2.org/allthingsct/treading-lightly/mountain-lions-our-midst
Darrell Lucas December 01, 2011 at 04:48 AM
Genes quote... "But using this as a loose guide I'd base Ct's Mountain Lion population at between 50-150." What happened to all your fantastic comments in that article anyhow?
Gene Bartholomew December 01, 2011 at 12:42 PM
That's the best you can do? That's your argument for proving there aren't any in Ct?
Darrell Lucas December 02, 2011 at 01:30 PM
Yeah... so what happened to all those comments Gene? I am sure cougars wander through CT. That's the best you can do? You seriously believe that there is up to 150 cougars in CT. Now thats the best! By the way what happen to all your comments? Why did you delete them?
Sidney January 07, 2012 at 02:00 AM
Just wondering......was the cause of death ever disclosed for missing man B. Mascia, who suffered from dementia, went missing the same week as all of these sightings, and whose 'remains' were found in a wooded area off Deer Run road which is very close to his home on Boardman Rd. The first post on this thread mentions a dead ML seen on Boardman road on 10/26, which was quikly removed by DOT (?) Not trying to be morbid, but just wondered if any more info as to the exact cause of death had been disclosed.....
Barbi Batchelder January 07, 2012 at 04:14 AM
Hi Sidney...According to the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner, Robert Masci's primary cause of death was Hypothermia. Other significant conditions were determined to be Vascular Dementia and Bronchial Pneumonia. Hope this is helpful.
Pam Rubenbauer February 09, 2012 at 10:02 PM
Is this ever going away?
milton milford March 30, 2012 at 02:22 PM
Hey Gene. Did you happen to catch this spectacle at Audubon in Greenwich concerning alleged mountain lion occurrence in the East ? That is, the Bill Betty cougar chat. http://www.greenwich-post.com/online/daily-featured/local-news/99976-audubon-speaker-says-mountain-lions-are-in-the-area.html
milton milford March 31, 2012 at 01:29 PM
Gene: The person who wrote that article, Yevgeniya Kusayeva, indicated that Bill Betty "told the audience that it does not take an expert to spot a mountain lion." Hmm. And as we already know, it does not take an expert to ALLEGE that they have spotted a mountain lion either. Kusayeva also indicated that Bill Betty said he had many “close encounters” with pumas near his home in Rhode Island. "Many" apparently equates to 14 alleged cougar sightings. So what do you think Gene, has Bill Betty actually had 14 encounters with a cougar over the past 40 years, as he CLAIMS? If so, were those cougars in a zoo, or a pen, perhaps? Does this suggest that Bill Betty is 14 times more CREDIBLE (believable) than Michael Olzacki, the dog catcher? Or 14 times less credible?
milton milford April 01, 2012 at 09:00 AM
Ok all you cougar kooks that special day has finally arrived. Enjoy your day!
milton milford May 06, 2012 at 12:28 AM
Finally found the article that might serve as an adequate response to a quip within the comment posted at 4:04 pm on Monday, October 31, 2011. http://easthaddam.patch.com/articles/mountain-lion-sighted-in-east-haddam#comment_1747086 Quip: "I see no evidence that are are (sic) mainly going NW" (That is, that young male cougars from the Black Hills disperse primarily northwestward) Article: Researcher: Hills' dominant cougars mostly immigrants Steve Miller Journal staff October 14, 2009 http://rapidcityjournal.com/news/local/article_db07c40e-b93d-11de-81b3-001cc4c03286.html Text within article: (quote) "Jensen said virtually all of the young male lions born in the Black Hills leave, most eventually heading northwest (NORTHWEST) to the Bear Lodge Mountains just over the border in Wyoming. Genetic studies confirm that the large dominant males are from outside the Black Hills area, said John Kanta, regional wildlife manager for the South Dakota Game, Fish & Parks Department. Kanta said there are roughly 20 dominant males in the Black Hills. Occasionally one dies or another older dominant male comes in from elsewhere and kills it, Kanta said." (end quote)
milton milford May 06, 2012 at 01:00 AM
South Dakota first initiated a hunting season for mountain lions in 2005. The article above was written after their 2009 hunting season. Prior to Oct. 2009, during the first four hunting seasons, approximately 75 mountain lions were taken by hunting in South Dakota. South Dakota’s mountain lion season now runs from January through March, or until a quota is met. During 2010 and 2011, while attempting to reduce the mountain lion population in the Black Hills of South Dakota, a total of eighty-nine cougars were harvested. In 2012, seventy-three more were taken. Within the smaller Wyoming portion of the Black Hills, during each of the past two seasons, forty mountain lions were harvested. In both South Dakota and Wyoming during the past three seasons, within the entire Black Hills region, more than 270 mountion lions have been shot. The Black Hills region is not any, or much, larger than Connecticut. Regulated hunting is an important population management tool, which in some cases ensures that people and certain wildlife species are able to coexist. Without this tool, in any given area or region, and for any number of reasons, the people of that region might decimate or eradicate a particular wildlife species - just as they did in New England a century ago.


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