Every day it makes the same trek up and down Route 67, behind B&B Insurance Group and Jesse's Barbershop. Nobody has been able to capture a photo, until this week when Carissa Beaulieu of B&B Insurance Group snapped the one above.
To me, that looks a lot like a mountain lion, and several people agree. But Paul Rego, a wildlife specialist for the state Department of Energy and Environmental Protection, disagrees. He says it's a bobcat.
Here is what he wrote in an email to me:
The animal in the photograph is a bobcat. We have no tangible evidence of mountain lions occurring in Connecticut. If Connecticut had a population of mountain lions then we would have verifying evidence such as photographs, specimens from road-kill or other mortality, unambiguous tracks, etc.
I can’t tell too much more from the photo. Size is hard to judge unless something of known size is also in the photo for comparison. The sex is difficult to ascertain without physically examining the animal. Bobcats are found throughout the state, so one being observed in oxford is not surprising.
The cougar killed on the Merritt two years ago. It was an extremely rare, and record, long-distance dispersal from the far Midwest. It is highly, highly unlikely that that event has been repeated. Most dispersals are very much shorter.
What do you think? Tell us in comments.