State Biologists, Winchester PD Disagree Over ‘Confirmed’ Mountain Lion Sighting

WINCHESTER (CBS) – State wildlife officials are disputing claims by Winchester police of a confirmed mountain lion sighting in that town.

Winchester police reported on Thursday that there had been a second reported sighting in town about ten days after the first.

Officials say a footprint analysis by “several independent mountain lion organizations in the United States” confirmed that second reported sighting last month in fact was a mountain lion.

“Experts from those organizations have conclusively stated that the paw print belongs to a mountain lion,” Winchester police said on their website.

However, the Massachusetts Department of Fish and Game was quick to refute that claim.

“This is not a mountain lion,” Fish and Game spokesperson Krista Selmi said in an email. “We have sent the photos to several out-of-state experts, including a western mountain lion biologist, and all the feedback we have received is supportive of our original interpretation that these tracks were made by a coyote or dog.”

Mountain lions are thought to be extinct in New England. The last confirmed kill of a mountain lion in Massachusetts was in 1858.

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