Recent area sightings of mountain lions (or cougars), and their "comeback" in the region have generated questions, controversy and concern. On Friday, Feb. 24, at 7 p.m., the New Canaan Nature Center will host mountain lion lecturer and advocate Bill Betty for a talk on this secretive big cat.

Betty is a knowledgeable speaker with more than a dozen personal sightings and close encounters in the last 37 years with one of America's shyest and most fascinating animals. In his PowerPoint presentation, Betty will show sighting photographs from Colorado to Connecticut and cover all aspects of mountain lion behavior, from reproduction to predation, from life span to habituation. He will discuss where and when to look for mountain lions locally and how to collect evidence. Many show-and-tell items, such as a skull, tracking maps, a motion-detection camera, cougar lures, scat samples and various books and pamphlets, will be available for the public to examine.

Children 8 and older are welcome with an adult. The New Canaan Nature Center is located at 144 Oenoke Ridge, New Canaan. Call 203-966-9577, ext. 20, to register in advance. Admission is $10 for members, $15 for nonmembers.

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