OAKLAND, Calif. (KTVU) - Recently three separate orphaned mountain lion cubs have been rescued by the California Department of Fish and Wildlife and have found sanctuary at the Oakland Zoo.
According to the Oakland Zoo, a third cub who is thought to be about 6-8 weeks of age recently arrived at the zoo near death.
The orphaned cub was found in El Dorado County Dec. 21. A couple spotted the cub and noticed she had stayed in the same spot for hours. They noticed she was weak so they contacted authorities.
The cub's starvation was so bad that her body had started to consume its own muscle mass.
According to the zoo after six days of non-stop IV fluids and round-the-clock bottle feedings, the cub began walking and showing signs of life. The zoo staff fed the cub kitten milk replacer formula and groomed her with a soft cloth that mimics a mother's tongue.
"She is now regularly eating solid foods, showing spunky personality, and even 'playing' with her enrichment," according to the zoo.
The zoo says her favorite foods are frozen mice warmed up and cod.
According to the California Department of Fish and Wildlife, the cubs can't be released back in the wild because they would have "no chance of survival." They would need their mothers to teach them how to hunt and survive. "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.
The trio of orphaned cubs will live at the Oakland Zoo in a new habitat that's designed to mimic their natural habitat. According to the zoo it's likely the largest mountain lion habitat in the world at 26,000 square feet. It's set to open in June of 2018.