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Cougar Rescued from New York Home

Posted By : The Animal Facts Editorial Team

Date: August 31, 2021 1:30 pm

Mountain Lion Rescued by New York Wildlife Charities

A rescued cougar which was found in a New York home is seen while under the care of the Bronx Zoo and the Wildlife Conservation Society

Photo Credit: Julie Larsen Maher

A group of wildlife charities and government agencies including the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS), New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (NYSDEC), New York City Police Department (NYPD) and the Bronx Zoo have worked together to find a home for a cougar being kept in a New York City home.

The NYSDEC and NYPD worked together to safely remove the cougar from the home and move here to Bronx Zoo where she could be cared for before being moved to her permanent home.

Over the weekend the cougar moved to Turpentine Creek, an accredited sanctuary where she will be given care for the rest of her life. She is currently 11 months old.

Mountain Lion Rescued by New York Wildlife Charities

A rescued cougar which was found in a New York home is seen while under the care of the Bronx Zoo and the Wildlife Conservation Society

Photo Credit: Julie Larsen Maher

Kelly Donithan, director of animal disaster response for the Humane Society of the United States, who was on scene with the cougar and facilitated the transport, said, “I’ve never seen a cougar in the wild, but I’ve seen them on leashes, smashed into cages, and crying for their mothers when breeders rip them away. I’ve also seen the heartbreak of owners, like in this case, after being sold not just a wild animal, but a false dream that they could make a good ‘pet.’ 

The Humane Society of the United States took the opportunity to remind everyone that these animals do not make good pets. "This cougar is relatively lucky that her owners recognized a wild cat is not fit to live in an apartment or any domestic environment," added Donithan.

“Wildlife like cougars are not pets,” said NYSDEC Commissioner Basil Seggos. “While cougars may look cute and cuddly when young, these animals can grow up to be unpredictable and dangerous."

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This is not the first case of a dangerous animal found in a private residence. In 2003 the NYPD removed an adult tiger from a Harlem apartment with Bronx Zoo staff also providing assistance with that case. They were also on seen when a child was attacked in Suffolk County by his father's pet leopard.

“We have witnessed countless wild animals kept in shoddy, unstable cages, and participated in rescues that resulted from animals escaping and roaming the streets,” Tanya Smith, Turpentine Creek Wildlife Refuge president, commented. “In these cases, the escaped animals are often killed, and people can be harmed. It’s as much of a public safety issue as it is an animal welfare issue. We are so happy we can provide a safe and proper environment for this cougar to be free without being at risk of causing harm or being harmed.”

Jim Breheny, director of the Bronx Zoo and executive vice president of the Wildlife Conservation Society Zoos & Aquarium, said, “At the Bronx Zoo, we were glad to assist the agencies working to rescue this cougar and provide care and housing for her until her transfer. We have long opposed the private ownership of big cats as pets.

The Humane Society Legislative Fund are supporting the passage of the Big Cat Public Safety Act which seeks to strength existing laws to prohibit the breeding and ownership of big cats except by qualified individuals.

Mountain Lion Rescued by New York Wildlife Charities

A rescued cougar which was found in a New York home is seen while under the care of the Bronx Zoo and the Wildlife Conservation Society

Photo Credit: Julie Larsen Maher

Learn more about Cougars here – Cougar Fact File | The Animal Facts

Learn more about the Humane Society of the United States on their website – Humane Society of the United States

Learn more about the Wildlife Conservation Society here – Wildlife Conservation Society

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