PLEASANTVILLE, N.Y. – Melissa Grigione, a local expert in wildlife and large felines, said mountain lions in Pleasantville could be more common than most would think, especially with the warmer winter weather as of late.
“Mountain lions used to be native to this area and they’re starting to try and come back here and become familiar with the area. It’s sort of an eastward bound movement that they’re going through now,” said Grigione, an associate professor and director of the Graduate Program in Environmental Science at Pace University. “Now that it’s been warmer here too there’s more forage, which means more deer around, which is tempting to them.”
Grigione has studied mountain lions for nearly 20 years in areas of the world such as California and Chile. On Wednesday evening, two Pleasantville residents said they spotted a mountain lion on Heritage Drive in Pleasantville. Chief Louis Alagno of the Mount Pleasant Police Department said Thursday morning that, after further interviews with the residents, they determined the animal was most likely a bobcat.
Grigione said that in all her years of studying mountain lions, she rarely saw one face-to-face in the wild.
“I was in areas where mountain lions were all over the place and it was a really rare occurrence that I would actually see one,” Grigione said. “I would see tracks or fecal matter and stuff like that but they tend to stay far away from human contact.”
Grigione said the reason for this is that mountain lions may actually be more afraid of humans than humans are of them.
“They are a predator but, for the most part, they don’t want to be around humans at all,” Grigione said. “Only in the rare occurrence that you came across a female with cubs would they really be in a defensive or attacking state.”