SONOMA, Calif. - A five-month-old mountain lion that was badly burned during last fall's devastating wildfires in Sonoma County, California is getting a new home.
Charmander, or Charlie for short, was just a cub when he was found alone and very thin, with all four of his paws burned. Veterinarians were able to use skin from tilapia fish to make special grafts for Charlie's Paws. The vets first tried the procedure on bears who escaped the fires too, and were pleased with the results.
"After one of the first tilapia treatments on the first bear, she stood right away after waking up from the anesthesia, Dr. Jamie Peyton, of the U.C. Davis Veterinary Teaching Hospital, told Fox 2.
Charlie had similar success with his grafting procedure, but because Charlie was separated from his mother when he was very young, he won't learn the skills he needs to survive in the wild. But that's OK, because Charlie will have a permanent home at Sonoma County Wildlife Rescue.
"They stay with their moms for about two years to learn how to hunt, and how to do everything they need to do," said Natalie Jones of the Sonoma County Wildlife Rescue Center. "And you really can't teach them that, as people."
While Charlie will spend the rest of his life at the rescue center, he will have a roommate, another mountain lion named Nicole, who they hope will teach Charlie some of the things his own mom wasn't able to.