A necropsy is scheduled to be performed Wednesday on a mountain lion struck and killed by a motor vehicle in Milford on June 11, a procedure that state and federal officials hope will shed more light an animal they believe is the same big cat that roamed through backcountry Greenwich earlier this month.
The necropsy — the animal version of an autopsy — will be performed at the state Department of Environmental Protection’s Sessions Woods Wildlife Management Area in Burlington by both DEP staff and a pathologist from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, a DEP spokesman said Tuesday.
“They’re going to do a stomach-content analysis to see what the animal fed on and to look for signs of captivity,” said Dwayne Gardner of the DEP. “One sign might be if the contents of the stomach contained stored food and pet food, instead of animals, and if the animal had suffered a fracture that had been treated by a veterinarian.”
Necropsy results could be in by the end of the week, Gardner said.
The U.S. Forestry Service and a private Davis, Calif.-based company, Zoogen Inc., are performing separate DNA tests, Gardner said, to see if the results match. The results could take three weeks to come back, he said.
Officials hope to then determine if the mountain lion was North American or South American in origin, he said.
It was also revealed this week that scat samples — animal droppings — found in Greenwich earlier this month are from a mountain lion, Gardner said.
The mountain lion that was seen in Greenwich in early June is believed by DEP officials to be the same one that was struck and killed by a motor vehicle on the Wilbur Cross Parkway in Milford early on June 11.
There have been several mountain lion sightings in Greenwich and throughout the state this month, with the latest coming Monday when a driver reported seeing one in Tolland. No physical evidence was found in the area, Gardner said.
Despite the continued sightings, DEP officials maintain that there isn’t enough evidence to back up the notion of multiple mountain lions in the area.
The eastern mountain lion was declared extinct in March by the Fish and Wildlife Service. Environmental officials say any mountain lions in the area would either have been released, or escaped, from captivity.
Staff Writer Frank MacEachern can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 203-625-4434.