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‘Megafauna mania’: Our obsession with mountain lions and other large predators

 Adult cougar rests in a tree
Erich Schmidt
/
Getty Images
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Bears, bobcats, coyotes, and deer are repopulating Connecticut, despite being hunted to near extinction by early settlers. Is the mountain lion among those returning?

The Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection thinks it’s unlikely. They investigate hundreds of mountain lion sightings every year without finding physical evidence of their presence. The sightings increased in 2011, after a driver hit and killed a mountain lion who was trying to cross the Merritt Parkway in Milford. But the mountain lion’s DNA was traced to South Dakota.

Mountain lions in Connecticut are a lot like Big Foot and the Loch Ness Monster: elusive and spectacular creatures that are widely spotted but leave no trace.

This hour, we talk about wildlife in Connecticut, including the Greenwich mountain lion and Buddy the beefalo.

GUESTS: 

  • Jason Hawley: A wildlife biologist for the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection
  • William Stolzenburg: A screenwriter and journalist and the author of Heart of Lion: a Lone Cat’s Walk Across America
  • Ed Benecchi: Retired police officer

The Colin McEnroe Show is available as a podcast on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts, Stitcher, or wherever you get your podcasts. Subscribe and never miss an episode!

Join the conversation on Facebook and Twitter.

Colin McEnroe, Megan Fitzgerald, Jonathan McNicol, Cat Pastor, and Lily Tyson contributed to this show. Special thanks to Jennifer Ahrens, Julia Gill, Peter Herrmann, and Anna Huether for contributing stories.

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Betsy started as an intern at WNPR in 2011 after earning a Master's Degree in American and Museum Studies from Trinity College. She served as the Senior Producer for 'The Colin McEnroe Show' for several years before stepping down in 2021 and returning to her previous career as a registered nurse. She still produces shows with Colin and the team when her schedule allows.
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