Updated, 10:30 a.m.:
Greenwich Police released a photo taken of the elusive mountain lion that was taken June 5 on the King Street campus of Brunswick School.
The Connecticut Department of Environmental Protection announced Wednesday that a large animal spotted in Fairfield County in recent days does, in fact, appear to be a mountain lion.
Since May 31, three sightings of a cat-like mammal with a long tail have been at the King Street campus of Greenwich's , which abuts the Westchester County Airport complex. Among those to report a sighting was a Greenwich Emergency Medical Service crew.
Some question had remained as to whether the animal was actually a mountain lion, as the creatures haven't inhabited Eastern Seaboard for more than a century. Just this March, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service formally declared the animal extinct in the Northeast.
But according to DEP Deputy Commissioner Susan Frechette, is very likely "a mountain lion that has been held in captivity and either escaped or was released"
"Our current information, which we will continue to evaluate, is based on hazy photographs we have seen and the size of the paw prints that have been left behind," Frechette said.
The DEP said it is cooperating with local officials to investigate the sightings. The Greenwich Police Department said it has not received any reports of missing wild animals held by private farms or foundations in the area.
Though June 7 was the last day of classes at the campus, which houses Brunswick's lower and middle schools, administrators took the precaution of closing it to all but faculty and staff. The cross country trails around the school are also closed.
Greenwich Conservation Director Denise Savageau said that if anyone happens upon a suspected mountain lion, they should “act large. Stand up tall, wave your arms and make noises. Don’t freeze. You don’t want to act like a bunny.”
By doing so, the animal more than likely will not view a human as prey, Savageau said.
She added that residents should exercise caution in trying to photograph the animal if it is spotted, preferably from the confines of a building or car.
Anyone who spots the mountain lion is asked to immediately contact local officials and the DEP's 24-hour hotline (860-423-3333). Those with information about the origin of the animal can also contact the DEP to report it anonymously.