Mountain Lion

Oakland Zoo Receives Two Orphan Mountain Lion Cubs

Two very young, orphaned mountain lion siblings were rescued and transported to Oakland Zoo yesterday morning by the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) following their search for the kittens, which started yesterday morning. An adult female mountain lion, who CDFW suspects is their mother, was struck by a car and killed on Saturday, November 11th, along Highway 280, near the Hillsboro/Burlingame area. Over the weekend, residents reported seeing two cubs alone near the area, and they were found safe in one of the reporting residents’ backyard. Both kittens are female, approximately six to ten weeks old, and weigh five and five-and-a-half pounds, respectively. These kittens mark the 25th and 26th mountain lion rescues as part of the Zoo’s Rescue and Recovery Program for local wildlife in need.

Cubs arriving to Oakland Zoo;Photo Credit Oakland Zoo

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Mountain Lions, Rose and Sage, Arrive at The Living Desert

Rose and Sage have arrived! 😻 We are thrilled to share that Rose and Sage, the rescued mountain lions from the Oakland Zoo, have arrived safely and are settling in at their new home at The Living Desert Zoo and Gardens. Both cats were calm throughout the first evening and are already acclimating to their new surroundings. "Through our camera monitoring, we observed expected behaviors including drinking, grooming, exploring, and sleeping,” noted Heather Down, Animal Care Curator of The Living Desert. “Rose and Sage will remain behind-the-scenes for about a week, as they get accustomed to their new environment and the animal care team builds a relationship with them.” Once they are comfortable, the dynamic duo will be introduced into the mountain lion habitat in Eagle Canyon. “We are so excited to welcome Rose and Sage to The Living Desert,” said RoxAnna Breitigan, Director of Animal Care. “These cats have such an amazing story, and we are honored to be part of their next chapter. We are so proud of our colleagues at the Oakland Zoo for the exemplary care and dedication to the wellbeing of these amazing animals.” Welcome to your fur-ever home, Rose and Sage!

Welcome Rose and Sage at The Living Desert_9.23.22_Photo Credit The Living Desert


Rose and Sage: An Orphaned Mountain Lion Rescue Story

The cats have left the building….we repeat….the cats have left the building…

Rose and Sage, the two orphaned mountain lion rescues Oakland Zoo has been taking care of for several months at their veterinary hospital, have left Oakland Zoo and are on their way to their “furrever home,” The Living Desert in Palm Desert, California.

Officials are sad to see this pair leave, but grateful they were able to rehabilitate them, help them find a permanent home (and each other!)

They’ve offered big thanks to their wildlife rescue partner California Department of Fish and Wildlife, without whom these rescues would not be possible.

Oakland Zoo is committed to Taking Action to reduce human-wildlife conflict, an ongoing issue that Rose & Sage will represent to the many visitors who will experience their beauty in person at The Living Desert, and the thousands of you who have already been touched by their story.

More about Oakland Zoo’s work rescuing and rehabilitating mountain lions:

UPDATE On Rose The Orphaned Mountain Lion!

Oakland Zoo’s vet team examined Rose on Thursday and she is looking really good! She now weighs over 12 pounds (she was only 8 lbs when she arrived). She's eating 5 times a day, which is great! No other concerns found during her exam, and now that she's getting more active, they’ll try to move her out of ICU into a proper stall soon. Here's Hospital Keeper Nikki giving Rose some happy scratching. This is a safe way to give her some attention and help her see that touch can be a positive thing. Learn about Rose at

Orphaned Mountain Lion Cub Spotted by Hikers in San Mateo Rescued After Five Day Search

First spotted last Tuesday by hikers, wildlife biologists and game wardens from the Midpeninsula Open Space District and California Department of Fish and Wildlife set up cameras and patrolled the area daily to rescue the emaciated female cub. Success was reached yesterday when she was found by the team(s) and immediately brought to Oakland Zoo for much needed medical treatment and rehabilitation.


OAKLAND, CA – April 11, 2022…Already named ‘Rose’ by her Oakland Zoo care givers, the four- to five-month-old female cub was found in the nick of time based on her critical medical condition upon arrival at the Zoo’s veterinary hospital around 3PM on Sunday, according to Oakland Zoo veterinarians. Extremely emaciated, Rose weighs only 8.8 pounds, and at her estimated age, a healthy female mountain lion should weigh around 30 pounds. 


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Captain Cal Meets Other Two Mountain Lion Cubs Orphaned in Zogg Fire


Exciting Captain Cal update from Oakland Zoo! Today Captain Cal finally ventured out of his crate (still bandaged heavily but walking)! He walked up to the partition between himself and the other two orphaned mountain lion cubs (females) that were also rescued from the Zogg Fire.

Based on their first meeting, this looks to be a great bond the 3 will form with each other! It’s sad that they ended up in the situation they have because of the devastating fire, but we are so happy that Captain Cal now has these two girls to grow up with for companionship and comfort.

Very soon the partition will be removed; it’s part of the introduction process that occurs in two phases. We anesthetized him to change his bandages today and the burned pads are improving daily. We’re very optimistic and happy!

Follow Captain's chronicles here:

Captain Cal Update

Rescued mountain lion UPDATE


Rescued mountain lion UPDATE: Oakland Zoo vet staff treated "Captain Cal" and removed the dead skin from his wounded feet, then wrapped each foot in bandages to heal. This little guy is drinking formula, and getting lots of fluids and TLC. Dr. Herman and the entire veterinary staff are hopeful that he will continue to improve. We will continue to give you updates and let you know how Captain Cal is doing!

Oakland Zoo Veterinarians Treating Mountain Lion Cub Burned in Redding’s Zogg Fire


Oakland, CA – October 1, 2020… Only four to six weeks old, an orphaned mountain lion cub suffering from severe wildfire burns was discovered and rescued by a Cal Fire firefighter yesterday in an area the Zogg Wildfire burned through this past Sunday in Redding. 

Upon discovering and capturing the lone cub, Cal Fire contacted the Shasta County Sherriff’s Department, who in turn contacted the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW). CDFW veterinarians, who are tirelessly working to save the lives of so many wildlife victims trapped by the recent fires throughout California, then contacted Oakland Zoo veterinarians for help in treating the cub.

Upon receiving the urgent call by CDFW around 5PM last night, Oakland Zoo’s veterinary team was standing by to receive and treat the cub, which arrived at 7:15PM, driven from Redding by Pete Figura, Supervising Wildlife Biologist for the CDFW.

“We are so grateful for the Oakland Zoo’s expertise, world-class facilities and willingness to step up – on extremely short notice – to help wildlife in need,” said CDFW’s senior wildlife veterinarian Dr. Deana Clifford. “Partnerships like this are absolutely critical to our state’s efforts to provide emergency care. California’s wildfires are erupting on a scale that we’ve never seen before, and we expect that we’ll have more burn patients than we have the capacity to treat in our own veterinary facility.”

“Unfortunately, a lion this size is too small to be released back into the wild, but we are hopeful that under the Zoo’s care, it will get a second chance as an ambassador for its species.”

Oakland Zoo’s Dr. Lynette Waugh, along with staff veterinary technicians immediately examined and treated the very young male cub, weighing only 3.75 pounds – and reported he was badly burned, especially his paws. His whiskers are completely singed off, and there is severe irritation to his eyes as well. The cub was cleaned and given antibiotics, supportive fluids, pain medication and fed milk formula for kittens (through a syringe). Dr. Alex Herman at Oakland Zoo explained that he is currently eating on his own and acting feisty – both promising signs for his recovery. Zoo veterinarians performed x-rays earlier today to determine if there is damage to his lungs from smoke inhalation and bone damage to his paws, and results were positive. Aside from severe burns to the soft tissue of the paws, there is no damage to bones or lungs. Oakland Zoo's veterinary team is also working with UC Davis Veterinary Medicine Teaching Hospital for their expertise in providing the most advanced care in treating the cub’s burn wounds. 

Dr. Alex Herman, Director of Oakland Zoo’s Veterinary Hospital said “We’re grateful to be part of this amazing little cub’s rescue and rehabilitation. It’s an amazing effort between Cal Fire, the Shasta County Sherriff’s Department, and of course our partners at the California Department of Fish & Wildlife. In the past two years, this marks our thirteenth mountain lion cub rescue for Oakland Zoo in partnership with CDFW. We’re cautiously optimistic that this cub will now survive and thrive, our dedicated team at Oakland Zoo is fully committed to do everything we can for him and for his beautiful species.”

Aside from wildfires, Mountain lions are facing numerous threats in California; often struck by cars and illegally poached. These factors culminate in the human-wildlife conflict, putting them at odds with humans in encroaching urban areas and developments. Oakland Zoo partners with conservation organizations like the Mountain Lion Foundation and the Bay Area Puma Project to educate the public on the issue and help conserve the species in the wild.

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 to save mountain lions caught in the human-wildlife conflict. 

In the wild, Mountain lion cubs stay with their mothers until they are around two years of age in order to learn the skills to survive on their own. Because this cub is orphaned and now unable to learn how to survive in the wild, he will be placed in a suitable forever home once he’s ready to leave Oakland Zoo’s Veterinary Hospital. 

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.”