Cougar

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! 


Cincinnati's Newest Cougar Cubs

Two eight-week-old Cougar cubs are now on display in the Cincinnati Zoo nursery. Born September 17th, the brothers, named “Joseph” and “Tecumseh” will assist the Zoo in educating people about the need to protect these beautiful cats that once roamed throughout much of America. The brothers will soon join the Cat Ambassador Program in the future Night Hunters exhibit.

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Cougar cub cincinnati zoo 1aPhoto credits (two top photos): David Jenke

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Cougar cub cincinnati zoo 1aPhoto credits (two bottom photos): Connie Lemperie


"Brave and Feisty" Cougar Cub Debuts in Oregon

The Oregon Zoo's Cougar cub will be on exhibit starting Thursday, Nov. 11, though visitors will need to keep a sharp eye out to see the youngster. Like all baby Cougars, the female cub is well-camouflaged by the brown spots on her coat. Since her birth Sept. 19, the cub has lived in a maternity den with her mother, Chinook. She and Chinook will have access to the Cougar exhibit in the morning, while the cub's father, Paiute, will be on exhibit in the afternoon. The cub, who keepers describe as "brave and feisty," has ventured into the exhibit several times this past week, first with the exhibit's viewing areas completely closed and then with zoo staff watching from the viewing areas.

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Cougar Cub Oregon Zoo 1Photo by Michael Durham, © Oregon Zoo.

"As we expected, the cub quickly adapted to having people around," said Michelle Schireman, Oregon Zoo Cougar keeper. "She's quite the little explorer. Her comfort was the determining factor in our decision to open the exhibit to zoo visitors."

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Roly-poly Little Cougar Cub at the Oregon Zoo

First time mother Cougar, Chinook, gave birth to a healthy female cub Sunday, Sept. 19 at the Oregon Zoo. According to keepers, Chinook is taking good care of her cub, which weighed around 2 pounds at birth. "The cub is an adorable, roly-poly little cat covered in dark spots," said Michelle Schireman, Oregon Zoo cougar keeper. "Like all baby cougars, her coat will lose its spots as she grows — it should be fun to watch her coloring change to an adult pattern."

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Photo by Michael Durham, © Oregon Zoo.

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A Cougar's Best Friend

10 week old Gillin, the orphan baby cougar rescued from the wilds of Oregon, is adjusting well to her new life at the Northeastern Wisconsin Zoo. Many zoo animals that are solitary in the wild benefit from having friends and hobbies in a captive situation. Gillin will be introduced to the NEW Zoo's adult cougar B.B. when she is a bit older. 

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Like most rambunctious babies, she loves to wrestle. In order for her to learn appropriate social behavior, she has been provided with a playmate. Treva is an energetic 2 year old Welsh terrier who belongs to Curator Carmen Murach.


Oregon's Orphaned Cougar Baby

Last month, a cougar cub was discovered in Klamaath Falls, Oregon. Residing temporarily in the care of the Oregon Zoo, the cub is preparing for a move to his new home at The Northeastern Wisconsin Zoo.  Here, puma expert Michelle Schireman is seen yesterday, caring for the young cougar.

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