Cougar

Blue the Cougar Debuts at Stone Zoo

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The staff at Stone Zoo has even more reason to celebrate this holiday season with the recent public debut of ‘Blue’, the 10 week old Cougar kitten.

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10830982_10152600085056989_6257364334333993673_oPhoto Credits: Dayle Sullivan-Taylor

In early November, Blue made the journey from central Idaho to his new home in Massachusetts. At approximately four weeks old, Blue was found alone and unable to survive on his own. The Idaho Department of Fish and Game sought a new home for him, and Zoo New England answered that call.

“Blue is continuing to thrive. He has been practicing his pouncing and stalking skills, and is a very curious kitten,” said John Linehan, Zoo New England President and CEO. “While we do wish that Blue would’ve been able to remain in the wild, it just was not possible for his survival. We are happy that we can provide a home for him, and we know that he will bring joy to so many as they have the opportunity to watch him grow. He is truly an ambassador for his species.”

Blue recently moved to his new temporary nursery after a month-long stay at the Zoo hospital at Franklin Park Zoo. Throughout the first several weeks, he required dedicated care and was bottle-fed by Zoo staff every four to five hours throughout the day. Blue was recently weaned off of bottle feedings.

At this point in his development, it is important for Blue to have some social interaction, opportunities to climb and explore, as well as plenty of enrichment so he can develop his natural Cougar skills. As he becomes bigger, the staff will have increasingly less interaction with him. He is expected to make his exhibit debut within the Treasures of the Sierra Madre exhibit in the coming months at Stone Zoo.

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Orphaned Cougar Kitten Finds a Home at Stone Zoo

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A four-week-old orphaned Cougar kitten traveled from central Idaho to Boston, where he will eventually make his new home at Zoo New England’s Stone Zoo

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Photo Credit:  Dayle Sullivan-Taylor
 
Blue, a male kitten weighing five pounds, was found near Salmon, Idaho and taken to a local veterinary clinic. The next day, the Idaho Department of Fish and Game returned the kitten to the location where he was found in hopes that the mother was nearby. Following this attempt to reunite the kitten with his mother, persons unknown found the kitten and it was once again returned to the veterinary clinic. At that time, Idaho Department of Fish and Game determined that the kitten could not be returned back to the wild and that a permanent home would need to be found. 

“This late-season kitten emphasizes the need to be diligent about leaving wild babies alone. While the outcome is not what was hoped for, it is the best situation for the kitten under the circumstances,” said Dr. Mark Drew, Idaho Department of Fish and Game Wildlife Veterinarian. 

Pete Costello, Assistant Curator of Stone Zoo, traveled to Idaho last week to pick up the male kitten and bring him home to Massachusetts. The trip was made possible through coordination with the Idaho Department of Fish and Game, as well as through the generosity of JetBlue, which provided the travel arrangements and safety oversight.

Caring for the kitten will require significant attention from the zoo’s skilled animal management and veterinary teams. Currently, the kitten is being bottle fed every four to five hours throughout the day. He is being cared for at the zoo hospital, located at Franklin Park Zoo, for at least the first 30 days.

“Given the challenges he has faced in his first few weeks of life, we are thrilled to be able to provide a home for this kitten. Our staff prepared for his arrival and for the special care that this kitten will need during these early days. An ambassador for his species, our guests will have the unique opportunity to learn more about Cougars as they watch him grow up,” said John Linehan, Zoo New England President and CEO. “His journey to Boston is the result of a truly collaborative effort. We are incredibly grateful to JetBlue, whose team went above and beyond every step of the way in assuring a smooth travel experience. In honor of all of their support, the new kitten will be named Blue.” 

When Blue is big enough, he will move to his new home at Stone Zoo. He is expected to debut in the Cougar exhibit in winter 2015. 

One of the largest of North America's wild cats, Cougars are also known as Panthers, Painters, Mountain Lions, Pumas and Catamounts. Although the Cougars' United States range has diminished throughout the last century, they still have the widest distribution of any land mammal in the Western Hemisphere. They range from the Yukon in Canada through the western portion of the United States and a small portion of the eastern United States to Patagonia. Cougars are found in a wide variety of habitats including lowlands, mountainous regions, deserts, and tropical forests. 

Females typically give birth between April and September to one to six kittens, which are born with a spotted coat and blue eyes.


Mountain Lion Foundling Finds a Home

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An orphaned Mountain Lion cub has a new home at ZooAmerica in Hersey, Pennsylvania! 

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Cougar cub_ZooAmerica_9Photo Credits: ZooAmerica

A homeowner, near Spokane, WA, found the 3-week-old dehydrated and malnourished cub on their front porch and contacted authorities. State Fish and Wildlife officers responded and immediately searched the area for the cub’s mother. When the mother wasn’t located, the cub was taken to wildlife rehabilitators at Mt.Spokane Veterinary Hospital.

Because of the cub’s age, he will need intervention by humans to ensure his survival.  According to Fish and Wildlife spokeswoman, Madonna Luers, “You just don’t rehabilitate an apex predator that’s become fixed on people, and release it back into the wild. The odds that it would eventually have contact with people or pets are too high.”

Arrangements were made to find an AZA accredited facility that could provide care for the Mountain Lion cub after his veterinary stay. ZooAmerica is now proud to have their new occupant and are providing the additional care and attention he needs to continue his development. The, yet-to-be-named, male cub is doing phenomenally well, but he will remain off exhibit for a while longer.

Mountain Lions (also known as Cougars, Panthers, or Pumas) are native to the Americas, with a range extending from the Canadian Yukon to the Andes of South America. They are classified as “Least Concern” on the IUCN Red List. However, the species is provided a level of protection through the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES).  According to CITES, under Appendix I, it is illegal to engage in international trade of Mountain Lion specimens or parts.

See more photos of the cub below the fold.

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Rescued Cougar Cubs Arrive at Oregon Zoo

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More Cougars! This time, it's a trio of two-week-old cubs that were orphaned in the wild. They were rescued last week by the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife brought to Oregon Zoo's Veterinary Medical Center for care. 

At just two weeks old, Cougar cubs are completely dependent on their mother, who raises them without the help of a mate. Their eyes have been open for just a few days. They wouldn't have made it on their own without a mother to nurse them, protect them, and teach them the survival skills they will need. 

These guys are now in experienced, caring hands. They'll receive care at Oregon Zoo until they move to their permanent home at the North Carolina Zoo

See video of a bottle-feeding and checkup:

 


A Tiny Cougar Weighs In at Zoo Salzburg

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On December 24, a healthy male Cougar was born at Zoo Salzburg in Austria! Cougars may have a litter of up to six cubs, but typically give birth to two. This time, a single cub was born and mom, 14-year-old Winnie, devotes all her care to this little one. 

Cougar cubs are born after a gestation period of about three months. Cubs are born with their eyes closed and weigh slightly less than one pound (about 400 grams). Within ten days, the cubs open their bright blue eyes. This startling eye color, along with their spotted baby-coats, changes by around six months of age. Depending on the cat's habitat, their fur may range in color from silver-gray to reddish-brown. 

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3 cougarPhoto credits: Zoo Salzburg
The proud parents, Winnie and Yagul. In this species, mothers raise offspring without help from the father. 

Cougars, also known as Mountain Lions, Pumas, Panthers, or Catamounts, are native to the Americas. The Cougar is listed by the International Union for Conservation of Nature as a species of 'Least Concern'. This is because they are found widely across North and South America, from Canada through the southern tip of Chile. However, it is considered as a species in decline, and some populations have been drastically reduced or extirpated (meaning extinct in a particular region where they used to live).

Like most cats, Cougars are solitary creatures. Depending on the type of habitat, they may require very large home ranges for successful hunting. This makes them  vulnerable to habitat loss and fragmentation, as well as to the decline of prey animals.  Because they may resort to taking livestock, they also face persecution by humans. 


Oregon Zoo Finds Homes for Orphaned Cougar Cubs

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A trio of Cougar cubs quietly moved in behind the scenes at the Oregon Zoo’s veterinary medical center. The three cubs were found orphaned in southwest Oregon in late October and stayed at the zoo temporarily while they awaited flights out of town to new, permanent homes in New York and Kansas. 

Oregon Zoo keeper Michelle Schireman described the seven week-old Cougar siblings, all female, as “incredibly cute, but definitely not cuddly.”

“They are tiny and feisty,” Schireman said. “They’re only 8 pounds [2.26 kg] right now— about the size of small house cats— but with feet the size of hockey pucks. They still have blue eyes and fuzzy spotted coats, which they will eventually grow out of.” 

Two of the cubs arrived October 29, and the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife (ODFW) found and delivered the third a couple of days later.

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4 cougarPhoto credits: Michael Durham / Oregon Zoo

“They’re nervous of course,” Schireman said. “But they’re starting to calm down. When we brought the third cub in, the first two were huddled in back of their crate, growling. Within 20 minutes, the third cub slinked out of her crate and joined her sisters, and then they all settled down together.”

Once they learned of the orphaned cubs, ODFW officials quickly contacted Schireman, who serves as the Association of Zoos and Aquariums’ (AZA) species coordinator for Cougars.

“I’m usually the first person wildlife departments call when orphaned cubs are found,” Schireman said. “Without a mother, young Cougars lack the skills and resources they need to survive on their own in the wild.”

Two of the cubs will be moving to the Lee Richardson Zoo in Garden City, Kansas, which recently opened a $1 million Cat Canyon habitat housing Bobcats, Jaguars and Cougars — including a 12 year-old male named Payton, who will be housed in an adjacent area, separate from the young pair.

The third cub will go to the New York State Zoo at Thompson Park, joining Ninja, a 2 year-old male placed there by Schireman in 2011. Ninja’s name was suggested by a New York kindergarten class “because he jumps like a ninja.”

“He’s been waiting for a buddy to get pouncy with,” Schireman said. “Both zoos have a history of excellent care for Cougars, and they have spaces all ready for these cubs.”

As an AZA species coordinator, Schireman has found homes for close to 85 Cougar cubs in zoos around the country. Most of the Cougars currently living in U.S. zoos are orphans placed by Schireman. In 2011, the National Association of Zoo Keepers recognized Schireman with a Certificate of Merit in Conservation for “outstanding work developing an orphaned animal placement program that gives assistance to state wildlife agencies and zoological institutions in placing orphaned pumas."

Cougars — also known as Mountain Lions, Pumas and, in Florida, Panthers — live mostly in the western United States and Canada. They weigh from 75 to 150 pounds (34 to 68 kg) and have a carnivorous diet both in the wild and at the zoo. Females are either pregnant or raising cubs for the majority of their lives. After three months of gestation, two to three cubs are usually born in a litter and live with their mother for up to two years. With the exception of the Florida panthers, Cougars are not listed as Endangered, but they do face many challenges in other parts of the country due to human encroachment and habitat destruction.


Orphaned Cougar Cubs Find a Home

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A pair of young Cougar cubs found orphaned and starving near Missoula, Montana briefly took up residence at the Oregon Zoo before being transferred to a new, permanent home at Tennessee's Chattanooga Zoo.

Oregon Zoo keeper Michelle Schireman described the 5-month-old siblings, one male and one female, as "intensely cute, but far from cuddly."

"The cubs are about as large as medium-sized dogs, with paws as big as bread plates," Schireman said. "Without a mother, young Cougars lack the skills and resources needed to survive on their own.  They started eating right away the first night they were here."

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Photo Credits:  Oregon Zoo

Montana wildlife officials said the pair had been seen around the Missoula area over a period of several weeks, occasionally attempting to raid poultry yards and with no mother in sight. They were eventually captured inside a chicken coop by local residents, who took them to Montana's Fish, Wildlife and Parks (FWP) service.

Montana FWP officials quickly contacted Schireman, who serves as the Association of Zoos and Aquariums' population manager for Cougars, and she worked to find them a home at the Chattanooga Zoo.

Wildlife officials don't know what happened to the cubs' mother, but the two were emaciated when they were first rescued, Schireman said. After two weeks at FWP, with good veterinary care and a steady food supply, they filled out quite a bit. The male cub now weighs 37 pounds and the female weighs 32.

Staff at the Chattanooga Zoo were excited to greet the newcomers.  "They have long history of excellent care and had a space all ready for these cubs," Schireman said.

Cougars — also known as mountain lions, pumas and (in Florida) panthers — live mostly in the western United States and Canada. They weigh from 75 to 150 pounds and have a carnivorous diet both in the wild and at the zoo. Females are either pregnant or raising cubs for the majority of their lives. After three months of gestation, two to three cubs are usually born in a litter and live with their mother for up to two years.

With the exception of the Florida panthers, cougars are not listed as endangered, but they do face many challenges in other parts of the country due to human encroachment and habitat destruction.


A Handful of Cougar Cubs at Oregon Zoo!

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Three orphaned cougar cubs with baby-blue eyes, fuzzy spotted coats, and much-too-big feet have briefly taken up residence behind the scenes at the Oregon Zoo until they can be moved to permanent homes in Nashville and Houston next week.

The 10-week-old cubs, all three male, were found in Washington state after their mother was illegally shot by a hunter. When wildlife officials learned the cubs were still alive, they quickly contacted Oregon Zoo keeper Michelle Schireman, who serves as the Association of Zoos and Aquariums’ population manager for cougars.

“I’m usually the first person fish and wildlife departments call when orphaned cubs are found in the wild,” Schireman said. “Young cougars can’t survive without their mothers, so I work with accredited zoos to find them new homes.”

Keeper Liz Bailey, keeper Michelle Schireman and veterinary technician Kelli Harvison (from left).

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Photo Credit: Oregon Zoo

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Announcing "ZooBorns CATS!": The Newest Edition in the ZooBorns Library!

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From the guys who brought you the smash hit ZooBorns: The Newest, Cutest Animals from the World's Zoos and Aquariums, which DiscoverMagazine.com called “hands down the cutest books ever to grace my shelf” comes ZooBorns CATS! The Newest, Cutest Kittens and Cubs from the World's Zoos featuring adorable pictures of newborn felines from accredited zoos and conservation programs around the world. ZooBorns: Cats! is the largest and most complete collection of kittens of different feline species ever published! Every sale of ZooBorns Cats! supports the Association of Zoos and Aquariums Conservation Endowment Fund. With the official release on November 1st, you can pre-order ZooBorns CATS! now at Amazon and Barnes & Noble. Look out for exclusive giveaways and excerpts on our Facebook page in the coming weeks!