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Rescued Mountain Lion Trio to Move from Oakland to Ohio

Posted By : The Animal Facts Editorial Team

Date: November 18, 2020 9:53 am

rescued mountain lion cubs oakland zoo

Captain Cal following his rescue at the Oakland Zoo

Photo Credit: Oakland Zoo

The Columbus Zoo and Aquarium in Ohio, US is preparing to receive three mountain lion cubs which were rescued after being orphaned during the recent California wildfires. The trio is made up of ‘Captain Cal,’ who was named by the Cal firefighters who rescued him and two as yet unnamed females.

In coming weeks the cubs will fly from Oakland to Indianapolis, Indiana and then be driven to Columbus. On their journey they will be accompanied by Oakland Zoo Zoological Manager, Angela Gibson, and the Columbus Zoo’s Vice President of Animal Health, Dr. Randy Junge to ensure they are healthy the whole way. Additional staff from the Columbus Zoo’s Animal Care team who oversee the Zoo’s North America region will join them in Indianapolis.

Dr. Herman and her team at Oakland Zoo have conducted a final health exam to ensure the cubs are ready to travel.

rescued mountain lion cubs oakland zoo

The trio of mountain lion cubs together at Oakland Zoo

Photo Credit: Oakland Zoo

The three cubs were orphaned by the California wildfires and rehabilitated by Oakland Zoo’s veterinary team. Captain Cal has become well known online with his recovery documented on the zoo’s website.

Captain Cal was found limping down a burned-out road in Redding on September 30, 2020 and rushed to the Oakland Zoo by the California Department of Fish & Wildlife (CDFW). He was severely burned and took 47 days to recover. He required surgery, antibiotics, supportive fluids, pain medication, hand feedings, daily bandage changes, and round-the-clock care.

When Captain Cal arrived at the hospital he weighed 1.7kg (3.75lbs) and had significant burns to the pads of his feet that meant he couldn’t walk. He underwent surgery to remove the pads so they could regrow and heal. Through some advanced care he is now healthy.

rescued mountain lion cubs oakland zoo

Captain Cal following his rescue at the Oakland Zoo

Photo Credit: Oakland Zoo

At the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium the trio of mountain lion cubs will join their resident mountain lion, Jessie after their mandatory quarantine period. Jessie is 17 surpassing the median life expectancy of 16 years for a captive mountain lion. She was rescued herself in 2004 and is noted to have a sweet disposition to other cats.

While Captain Cal was named by Cal firefighters the two girls are yet to be named and Oakland Zoo has offered this opportunity to the keepers at Columbus Zoo and Aquarium. The two girls were rescued from the August complex fire and did not suffer burns. They were estimated at 3-4 weeks old when they arrived at the hospital.

The girls met Captain Cal on October 28th and the group have been playing, cuddling and sleeping together ever since.

“Even with the cubs’ tragic beginning, their story is actually one of survival and hope. We are proud to work with our friends at Oakland Zoo, whose expertise has given these cubs another chance. We remain committed to the cubs’ care, and we will continue to share their important story with others as we work together to protect the future of wildlife and wild places,” said Columbus Zoo and Aquarium President/CEO Tom Stalf.

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A number of zoos were prepared to home the cubs but Columbus was selected due to their extensive experience in rescuing North American animals.

Once Captain Cal and his friends have moved to the Columbus Zoo the team at Oakland Zoo will begin preparing to rescue more animals. With global warming the threat of wildfires is increasing and they expect to treat more animals in the future. Oakland Zoo have collaborated with CDFW and UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine on the newly formed “Wildfire Relief Network” for burned wildlife was created in October 2020 as a response to the growing problem.

“We’re grateful and beyond happy that Captain Cal has made such an amazing recovery and now has a family with the two females. These cubs’ poignant faces have made an impact on so many, and helped raise awareness around the issue of global warming and the environment we – and these animals – live in. We’re fully committed to continue taking in burned wildlife that need our help, and hopefully, one day that need will no longer exist,” said Dr. Herman.

Mountain lions are also known as cougars or pumas. In addition to wildfires they face other threats in the wild including vehicle strikes and poaching. They are also coming in to conflict with humans as they live closer to one another.

rescued mountain lion cubs oakland zoo

The trio of mountain lion cubs together at Oakland Zoo

Photo Credit: Oakland Zoo

Learn more about mountain lionsMountain Lion Fact File | The Animal Facts

Learn more about Oakland Zoo on their website – Oakland Zoo

Learn more about the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium on their website – Columbus Zoo

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