BOSTON Authorities were on alert on Thursday for a possible mountain lion roaming the posh neighborhoods of Greenwich, Connecticut, after three sightings were reported.
Just months after the eastern mountain lion was officially declared extinct, reports of an enormous cat with a long tail were called in by residents of the New York City-area suburb over the weekend, officials at the Department of Environmental Protection said.
With the closest confirmed population of mountain lions in Missouri, the animal spotted in Connecticut likely escaped or was released from captivity, the DEP said.
Authorities studied hazy photos taken by stunned residents and paw prints discovered in the town known for its sprawling mansions and manicured estates.
The prints were too big for a bobcat, another large cat known to be in the area, said DEP spokesman Dwayne Gardner.
Authorities are working with counterparts in New York to determine if any mountain lions legally kept in captivity there may have escaped and wandered over the state border, Gardner said.
If there are future sightings, authorities will attempt to trap the animal, he said.
(Reporting by Lauren Keiper; Editing by Barbara Goldberg and Peter Bohan)