Mountain Lion

Orphaned Mountain Lion Cubs Arrive At Cheyenne Mountain Zoo

CMZoo Mountain Lion Cubs Together_5

Three orphaned Mountain Lion cubs arrived at their new home at Cheyenne Mountain Zoo in late May after being found alone in a den in Washington state. The two sisters and their brother were estimated to be about six weeks old at the time of their rescue.

CMZoo Mountain Lion Cub 6a
CMZoo Mountain Lion Cub 6a
CMZoo Mountain Lion Cub 6aPhoto & Video Credit: Cheyenne Mountain Zoo

Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) responded to a human-wildlife conflict that resulted in the cubs’ mother’s death. WDFW staff members reached out to the zoo community to find a home for the young Lions, who were too small to survive on their own in the wild.

“We’re excited to provide a home for these young, playful cubs,” said Rebecca Zwicker, senior lead keeper in Rocky Mountain Wild, where the cubs will live. “Of course, these situations are bittersweet. We wish we didn’t have to find homes for orphaned cubs, but we’re grateful for our partnerships, because we can offer the cubs an amazing life of choices, care, and compassion.”

This is the second litter of orphaned Mountain Lion cubs that Cheyenne Mountain Zoo has helped to rescue. The first litter came from Wyoming in 2006. Tocho, Motega and Yuma were all male members of the litter who have since passed. Kaya, the female Mountain Lion who lives in Rocky Mountain Wild, is the remaining member of the original litter. After the cubs earn a clean bill of health, the plan is to introduce them to Kaya.

“We’re hoping Kaya, who is blind and aging, will enjoy having company again,” Zwicker said. “We’ll take our time letting Kaya and the cubs have opportunities to interact from a safe distance, and then we’ll follow their lead. It would be ideal if they could live together, because the cubs can learn how to be Mountain Lions from Kaya.”

While the cubs are behind the scenes, they’ll receive vaccinations and veterinary checks to ensure they’re ready to explore their new home in Rocky Mountain Wild.

“Mountain Lions are part of our daily lives in Colorado,” said Zwicker. “These cubs will be ambassadors for their wild relatives, helping our guests learn about their species, their unique personalities and behaviors, their contributions to our ecosystem, and how we can live peacefully with them.”




 


OKC Zoo Debuts ‘Mountain Lion Cub Cam’

1_OKC Zoo Mountain Lion Cubs at Oklahoma Trails Habitat

The Oklahoma City Zoo’s 11-week-old Mountain Lion cubs are ready to make their public debut, and fans can watch the wild fun unfold live, daily on the Zoo’s “Mountain Lion Cub Cam”!

The OKC Zoo is excited to officially launch its new “Mountain Lion Cub Cam,” online at www.okczoo.org . Tune in and watch as young siblings, Toho, Tanka and Tawakoni, explore their new habitat at the Zoo’s Oklahoma Trails and get ready for all the pouncing, playing and sibling bonding you can handle!  

The Mountain Lion cubs arrived at the OKC Zoo in late January after being orphaned in the Black Hills of South Dakota. Game officials with the South Dakota Department of Game, Fish and Parks found the cubs and contacted the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) to locate a permanent home for the litter because recovered cubs cannot return to the wild according to South Dakota state protocol. Learning of the cubs’ situation, the Zoo made the decision to provide a forever home for both Toho and Tanka. Tawakoni will be relocating to her permanent home at AZA-accredited Cameron Park Zoo in Waco, Texas, later this summer. Until then, she will remain with her brothers at Oklahoma Trails.

ZooBorns shared news of the cubs’ arrival at OKC Zoo in an earlier feature: “Orphaned Mountain Lion Cubs Thrive at OKC Zoo”  

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3_OKC Zoo Mountain Lion (3 of 3)

4_OKC Zoo Mountain Lion Cub (1 of 3)Photo Credits: Candice Rennels /Oklahoma City Zoo

The OKC Zoo’s new webcam provides a ‘purr-fect’ opportunity for virtual guests to get a live look at the cubs and stay connected with them as they grow. After completing a 30-day quarantine at the Zoo’s Joan Kirkpatrick Hospital, the cubs moved to Oklahoma Trails where they can be seen daily in the current bobcat habitat. The Zoo’s carnivore caretakers determined the bobcat habitat would be an easier space for the cubs to navigate at this time and cub-proofed the habitat before allowing the adventurous youngsters access. When the siblings are bigger, they will “graduate” to the mountain lion habitat. In the meantime, Cody, the Zoo’s bobcat, can be seen daily in the Mountain Lion habitat.

“Cub Cam” viewers will enjoy watching as the Mountain Lion cubs become familiar with their new environment and curiously explore it. The rambunctious trio is a sight to see as they investigate all the new smells and sounds around them. The “Mountain Lion Cub Cam” will be live at www.okczoo.org – 24/7 with optimal viewing of the cubs from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. daily, weather permitting.


Orphaned Mountain Lion Cubs Thrive at OKC Zoo

1_OKC Zoo Mountain lion cubs (2) credit Jennifer D'Agostino

The Oklahoma City Zoo and Botanical Garden recently welcomed a litter of orphaned Mountain Lion cubs. The cubs, two males and a female, are approximately ten-weeks-old and arrived at the OKC Zoo in late January after being rescued from the wild.

Born in the Black Hills of South Dakota, the Mountain Lion cubs were found by game officials with the South Dakota Department of Game, Fish and Parks. Realizing the cubs’ mother was deceased and they were too young to survive on their own, game officials immediately intervened and began providing 24/7 care for the orphaned cubs. They also contacted the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) to locate a permanent home for the litter because recovered cubs cannot return to the wild according to South Dakota state protocol.

Learning of the cubs’ situation, the OKC Zoo made the decision to take in the litter and provide a forever home for both male cubs at its Oklahoma Trails habitat. The female cub will be relocating to AZA-accredited Cameron Park Zoo in Waco, Texas later this summer, but will remain with her brothers at the OKC Zoo until then.

“By bringing these orphaned cubs to the OKC Zoo and providing them with the care, veterinary monitoring and enriching environment needed to thrive we are ensuring their survival.” said Tyler Boyd, OKC Zoo animal curator. “Since it opened in 2007, Oklahoma Trails has been home to Mountain Lions, and we are excited to watch these brothers grow and become beloved ambassadors for the habitat. We want to connect our guests to the importance of caring for native wildlife and wild places, and communicate why it’s vital to protect both.”

The male cubs were given the names Toho, meaning “cougar god”, and Tanka, from Wakan Tanka meaning “great spirit” in the Lakota language. The female cub has been named, Tawakoni, which is inspired by the Wichita tribe and means “river bend among red sand hills.”

According to the Zoo, all three cubs are in good health and weighed 9-10 lbs. at their last check. Once the cubs complete their 30-day quarantine at the OKC Zoo’s Joan Kirkpatrick Animal Hospital, they will be on public view at the Oklahoma Trails exhibit.

2_OKC Zoo Mountain lion cubs (4) credit Jennifer D'Agostino

3_OKC Zoo Mountain lion cubs credit Jennifer D'Agostino

4_OKC Zoo Mountain lion cubs (3) credit Jennifer D'AgostinoPhoto Credits: OKC Zoo/ Jennifer D'Agostino

The Mountain Lion (Puma concolor) is known by many names including catamount, cougar, panther or puma. Native to the Americas, Mountain Lions once roamed most of the United States including Oklahoma, but now the largest populations inhabit the western U.S.

Impressive in size and strength, Mountain Lions are considered apex predators meaning they are not prey to any other animals. These large carnivores are built for hunting and actually help control deer and other animal populations from reaching unhealthy levels. Adults are recognized for their solid tawny coats but cubs are born with spots that vanish before they are a year old. Cubs are also born with blue eyes that change to yellow around 16-18 months old.


Orphaned Mountain Lion Cubs Bond at Oakland Zoo

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Two non-related Mountain Lion cubs are being cared for at Oakland Zoo’s veterinary hospital. In recent weeks, California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) rescued the cubs separately.

The male and female cubs, both approximately 9-10 weeks of age, are doing well and are being attended by Zoo vet staff around the clock. Because the cubs were orphaned too young to have the survival skills necessary for release, they will ultimately be permanently placed at an appropriate permanent facility when they are strong enough.

“We are so pleased that the Oakland Zoo was willing and able to play a role in saving the life of these cubs,” said Nicole Carion, CDFW’s Wildlife Rehabilitation Coordinator. “Returning injured or orphaned wildlife to the wild is always the ideal outcome, but in situations like this -- where an animal is too young to have the necessary survival skills -- placing it back in the wild would be a death sentence. In those cases, we rely on zoos with experienced wildlife specialists and resources to step in and provide critical care. These cubs are small and in need of a temperature-controlled environment where they can stay warm. The Oakland Zoo’s veterinary facility was exactly what these animals needed, at exactly the right time.”

 

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3_male at Oakland Zoo Vet Hospital

4_femal_kitten_at_vet_hospitalPhoto Credits: Oakland Zoo

The male, first to arrive in late September, is from Modoc County. The cub was orphaned after its mother, which was reportedly killing sheep in the area, was shot and killed under a legal depredation permit. In the state of California, a person who suffers property damage by Mountain Lions is entitled to obtain a depredation permit to protect their property.

The second cub, a female, was discovered in Lake County after a property owner heard ‘chirps’ from what he believed to be a bird over a period of seven days. Mountain Lion cubs make a high-pitched ‘chirping’ sound when calling for their mother. The property owner did not disturb the animal until he observed the cub’s health was in serious decline.

According to Katie Woolery, Assistant Director at Sonoma Wildlife Rescue, an adult Mountain Lion, struck and killed by a car, was discovered five miles away around the same time but it’s not confirmed that this was the cub’s mother.

CDFW placed the female cub with Sonoma Wildlife Rescue on September 12, where it was examined and treated. The cub was severely dehydrated, emaciated, covered in parasites and burrs.

“While we don’t know for sure what caused this female cub to become orphaned, we do know that one of the biggest threat to Mountain Lions in California is traffic, with 107 animals killed by automobiles in 2016 alone,” said Amy Gotliffe, Director of Conservation at Oakland Zoo.

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Oakland Zoo Provides Home for Third Mountain Lion

1_Kitten at Oakland Zoo vet hospital_Credit MonicaFox

In just over one month, three orphaned Mountain Lion cubs have been rescued by the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) and all have found sanctuary at Oakland Zoo.

The most recent, and youngest, arrived the night of December 23 in severe critical condition, more so than the first two cubs.

This third cub, estimated to be approximately 6-8 weeks of age, arrived near death, unable to stand or walk from such severe dehydration and starvation. Zoo vets found her starvation was so advanced, her body was consuming its own muscle mass. After six days of continuous IV fluids containing essential electrolytes and minerals, and round-the-clock bottle-feedings by Zoo veterinary staff, she began walking and showing signs of life. Vet staff joyously reports she is now regularly eating solid foods, showing spunky personality, and even ‘playing’ with her enrichment.

ZooBorns featured the story of the first two rescued cubs in an article from mid-December: Oakland Zoo Cares for Mountain Lion Orphans”.

As determined by the CDFW, these three cubs cannot be released back in to the wild once their rehabilitation is complete, they would have no chance of survival. Unfortunately, they need their mothers to be effectively taught to hunt and survive. In the wild, even when the mother is present, the survival rate of Mountain Lion cubs is slim. Mountain Lions are becoming critically endangered in the California, often struck by cars or shot when seen as a threat in encroaching urban areas and developments. Oakland Zoo partners with the conservation organizations like the Mountain Lion Foundation and the Bay Area Puma Project to try and help conserve the species in the wild.

“Mountain Lion cubs need up to two years with their mom in order to learn how to survive and thrive. Human survival training is not possible. The Bay Area Puma Project supports Oakland Zoo’s efforts to care for Pumas that cannot be released into the wild,” said Zara McDonald, Executive Director of the Bay Area Puma Project.

Oakland Zoo helped found BACAT (Bay Area Cougar Action Team) in 2013, an alliance with the Bay Area Puma Project and the Mountain Lion Foundation, to help support the CDFW save Mountain Lions caught in the human-wildlife conflict.

2_Kitten at Oakland Zoo vet hospital1 with IV_Credit MonicaFox

3_Kitten at Oakland Zoo vet hospital2_Credit MonicaFox

4_Being examined byDr. Parrott at Oakland Zoo vet hospitalPhoto Credits: Monica Fox (Images 1-3) / Oakland Zoo 

Yet unnamed, the newest kitten seems to be thriving in the past several days. Upon arrival, Zoo vet staff began treating her in the ICU with nine daily and overnight bottle-feedings of KMR (kitten milk replacer formula), grooming her with a soft cloth to mimic a mother’s tongue, and monitoring her progress constantly. She is now eating solid food. Her favorite stew is a combination of raw meat from Primal Pet Foods, chicken baby food, frozen mice that is warmed, and cod.

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Oakland Zoo Cares for Mountain Lion Orphans

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In cooperation with the California Dept. of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) and the Feline Conservation Center, Oakland Zoo has taken in two orphaned Mountain Lion cubs. The cubs were found separately in Orange County, two weeks apart from each other. Due to their ages and geographic proximity to each other when rescued, Oakland Zoo veterinarians will conduct DNA testing to determine if they are, in fact, siblings.

An adult female Mountain Lion was struck and killed by a motorist in the area of the cubs’ rescues, leading to the conjecture that the cubs may have belonged to her and were separated as a result of her tragic death.

In response to a situation such as this, Oakland Zoo helped found BACAT (Bay Area Cougar Action Team) in 2013, in partnership with the Bay Area Puma Project and the Mountain Lion Foundation, to help save Mountain Lions caught in the human-wildlife conflict with the CDFW.

"The Mountain Lions of the Santa Anas are the most at-risk in the nation, equal to the Florida Panther in terms of the uncertainty around their survival. Orphaned kittens represent the death of a mother lions, and this isolated Orange County population cannot afford the loss. It will take protection of habitat and wildlife corridors, depredation prevention efforts, and enhancements of Southern California freeways to allow the Mountain Lions of the Santa Anas and Orange County to survive. The two orphaned kittens at the Oakland Zoo are evidence of that need," said Lynn Cullens, Executive Director of the Mountain Lion Foundation.

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2_Mountain Lion Cub 20171211 -5Photo Credits: Oakland Zoo

Both cubs are male and estimated to be 3-4 months old and weigh close to 30 lbs. They were found approximately 15 miles apart in Orange County’s Silverado Canyon and Rancho Santa Margarita.

The first was discovered in a resident’s backyard, and the second, approximately two weeks later, on the roadside. Residents reported the cub sightings and CDFW was contacted. The cubs were initially cared for by the Feline Conservation Center in Lake Forest before being brought to Oakland Zoo where they are currently being quarantined, given medical attention and cared for by the Zoo’s Veterinary Hospital.

The second male cub arrived at Oakland Zoo on Monday and is doing very well. Zookeepers describe him as ‘feisty’ compared to his counterpart, who is more shy and cautious. Mountain Lions are new to Oakland Zoo, and these two cubs and the events that led them to need a ‘forever home’ will serve as educational ambassadors at Oakland Zoo’s upcoming 56-acre California Trail expansion, opening in June 2018.

“It is an honor to provide a forever home for these young Mountain Lions, and honor their lives further by working to help conserve their wild counterparts. We have a lot of work to do to better protect and conserve pumas, from proper education to establishing wildlife crossings and proper enclosures for pets and livestock. Oakland Zoo will continue to work in our BACAT Alliance with CA Department of Fish and Wildlife, Bay Area Puma Project, Mountain Lion Foundation to inspire our community to both understand and take action for our precious local lion,” said Amy Gotliffe, Director of Conservation at Oakland Zoo.

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