Oakland Zoo Takes in Abandoned Mountain Lion Cubs

Photo: Oakland Zoo

A pair of orphaned male mountain lion cubs discovered two weeks apart in Southern California have found a new home at the Oakland Zoo. Both cubs are male are about 3-4 months old and already weigh around 30 lbs apiece according to experts. 

Zookeepers describe the pair of mountain lion cubs as having complete opposite personalities. One cub was said be much more 'feisty' by his new handlers at the zoo, while his brother is more shy and cautious around his new human caretakers. 

Mountain lions are new to the Oakland Zoo and the pair of cubs will serve as educational ambassadors at Oakland Zoo's upcoming 56-acre California Trail expansion which is set to open in June of 2018. Amy Gotliffe, the Director of Conservation at Oakland Zoo says the pair of cubs will help inspire their community to understand and take care of local wildlife. 

“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."

Zoo officials believe their mother was likely struck and killed by a motorist in the area, which likely led to them become separated. Lynn Cullens, Executive Director of the Mountain Lion Foundation, says mountain lions in the Santa Ana mountains have the highest risk of being killed by motorists in the nation. 

"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.

The new cubs are being acclimated to their new environment before they will be available to be seen by the public. Oakland Zoo's keepers say they're working with their vet staff to help the cubs develop a bond with one another, as well as build their confidence and trust in their keepers. 

You can find more information at Oaklandzoo.org.

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