Suburbs Riled By Mountain Lion Reports

Originally published on June 17, 2011 10:58 am
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From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Melissa Block.


Greenwich, Connecticut, is one of the nation's toniest towns. Ron Howard, Tommy Hilfiger and both Regis and Kathie Lee have homes there. But rumors of a new neighbor are generating the most buzz these days. A mountain lion that had been spotted in town was killed by a car earlier this month. But as Craig LeMoult of member station WSHU reports, the sightings continue.

CRAIG LEMOULT: Joe Cassone, who works for the Conservation Commission in the town, presses the button to open the automatic gates at the foot of a Greenwich driveway. The police got a call from here on Monday. His job usually involves dealing with the town's more genteel wildlife, like the deer who pranced in the woods between mansions.

BLOCK: Hi. I'm Joe.

BLOCK: I'm Tirso.

BLOCK: Good to meet you.

BLOCK: Nice to meet you too.

LEMOULT: Tirso Gregorio is a live-in housekeeper here. He says he got up about 5:30 in the morning on Monday to get the paper and take out the garbage. And that's when he noticed something in the woods to the side of the long driveway. At first, he thought it was a dog. But then he noticed it had a long, straight tail.

BLOCK: How heavy would you say it was? Over a hundred pounds?

BLOCK: Yeah. About a hundred pounds plus.

BLOCK: And did you see the face and...

BLOCK: Yeah, when he looked at me, and it's - I saw the face. I said that's a puma.

LEMOULT: He raced back into the house to grab a camera. But when he came back out, it was gone. Sandra Joys is the homeowner who employs Gregorio.

BLOCK: Tirso only says what he knows and what he sees. And until now, I was more concerned about Lyme ticks, but perhaps I should broaden my concerns.

LEMOULT: Cassone points out mountain lions do usually come out at dusk and dawn, and Gregorio was up pretty early.

BLOCK: It does sound, you know, like a fit.

LEMOULT: Without a photo, though, Cassone's still not sure there's another mountain lion on the loose. He says people have mountain lions on the mind, and they may really be seeing bobcats, which can still be found in Connecticut. You might think a 140-pound or so cat that stalks its prey might cause a bit of concern in a town of double strollers and hiking trails. But on the ritzy Greenwich Avenue lined with boutiques and cafes, the mountain lion or maybe lions are actually pretty popular.

BLOCK: I'm a cat lover. Good for them.


LEMOULT: That's Greenwich resident Jane Bruyneel. Some are a bit worried about kids and pets. Others, like Jane Chapman, seemed more concerned about the mountain lion's safety.

BLOCK: I hope they catch him but not kill him. I would like to see him, you know, put safely behind bars somewhere.


LEMOULT: On her way into Tiffany's, Marie Elizabeth says she's skeptical if there is a second mountain lion.

BLOCK: You know, when someone will say, oh, I saw a mountain lion, who knows if it's really true?

LEMOULT: And anyway, she says Greenwich really isn't a great habitat for a mountain lion.

BLOCK: Unless he wants to go Saks.


LEMOULT: For NPR News, I'm Craig LeMoult. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.