By GEOFF CUNNINGHAM Jr.firstname.lastname@example.org
Saturday, September 19, 2009
Cynthia Seligowski of Brentwood explains the movements of a mountain lion she believes she spotted on her Middle Road lawn a week ago today.
N.H. Fish and Game officials are looking for hard evidence to confirm a report that one of their staff members spotted a mountain lion in Barnstead, which could go down as only the fifth such sighting of the predator in the past 60 years in the Granite State.
Cynthia Seligowski of Brentwood said she has little doubt such an animal is roaming the area as she is sure she saw one of the big cats sitting on the front lawn of her Middle Road home last Saturday.
"I was sitting in my living room in the rocking chair and out he came. It had the body of a lion. I knew it wasn't a dog [and] his markings were beautiful on his face," Seligowski said.
Seligowski said she did not get a photo of the animal, which remained on the lawn for a few minutes before making its way into the woods just as a police officer arrived.
The Middle Road resident said she is certain it was a mountain lion as the cat appeared the size of a very large dog when she observed it through the pair of binoculars she ran to grab when the animal made a stop in her rural yard.
Fish and Game Department officials say the sightings might be legitimate, as one of their staff members saw what is believed to have been a mountain lion in Barnstead on Friday during a follow-up to a reported sighting.
Fish and Game experts say mountain lions are known to exist in the wild in states no closer than Iowa and Florida. "Survival of this type of animal is typically extremely low as they normally do not have the developed abilities to catch prey on a consistent basis, and/or may have been declawed," said Fish and Game Wildlife Division Chief Steve Weber.
Weber said his department would expect to collect hard evidence of a mountain lion's existence if it did survive through the use of pictures, tracks, scat or DNA evidence.
Fish and Game wildlife experts say mountain lions were pushed out from their range in the Eastern United States by the late 1800s, with the exception of the endangered Florida panther.
"The Fish and Game Department receives numerous reports of mountain lions every year," said Weber. "We still have no documentation to confirm their presence. While we do not believe this is a harbinger of a recovering population ... it does add one more credible report to several others we have received over the years."
Seligowski, an artist who is not particularly thrilled with all the media coverage she has been receiving since her sighting took place, said she has little doubt about what she saw and has already discussed her sighting with Fish and Game. She has since learned other sightings have taken place up and down Route 107.
She said the animal appeared calm and very healthy as it sat on her lawn. She considers herself lucky to have seen one.NOTE
What they don't mention is that the Me. Fish and Game had 4 that had been hit by cars. People have been reporting sightings for decades and F&G keeps denying their presence.