Oakland Zoo Cares for Orphaned Cougar Cubs

Orphaned cougar cub at the Oakland Zoo

Female cougar cub during an examination at Oakland Zoo Veterinary Hospital. Photo credit: Oakland Zoo.

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife transported two cougar (or mountain lion) cubs to the Oakland Zoo for care after their mother was struck and killed by a car. Oakland Zoo’s Veterinary Hospital staff conducted thorough exams on the cubs, including virus testing, parasite treatment, and bloodwork testing. They also provided vital fluids as the cubs were underweight and dehydrated.

“Our team will be caring for the cubs daily to restore them to full health and for their overall animal wellbeing,” said Dr. Alex Herman, Oakland Zoo’s Vice President of Veterinary Services.

In the wild, cougar cubs stay with their mothers for two years to learn survival and hunting skills. Since these cubs are only 6-10 weeks old, they cannot be returned to the wild and the California Department of Fish and Wildlife will find a suitable home for them in a few months.

For more information, see the Oakland Zoo’s website.

To learn more about cougars, see our Cougar article.

VIDEO: Circus Mountain Lion Rescued in Peru

Mufasa, an elderly mountain lion who spent 20 years chained up in the back of a circus pick-up truck, has been rescued by Animal Defenders International (ADI). He will live out the rest of his life at the Taricaya Ecological Reserve in the Amazon forest.

According to ADI President Jan Creamer, “Mufasa’s story symbolizes the suffering we have ended.  He was kept for years in chains in a truck, sleeping on metal, barely able to move. An unbearable torture. Now, in his twilight years, I hope people will help us give him back the life the circus stole from him.”

Mountain lion freed from circus truck

ADI rescues Mufasa from the back of a circus pickup truck. Photo by Animal Defenders International.

Mufasa the mountain lion

Mufasa at the Taricaya Ecological Reserve in the Amazon forest. Photo by Animal Defenders International.

If you would like to help ADI make more rescues, you can donate at their website. Learn more at www.ad-international.org/SpiritofFreedom.

Featured Animal: Cougar (aka Mountain Lion)

Meet our featured animal: the cougar!


Cougars are also referred to as pumas, mountain lions or panthers. Here are five fun facts about them:

  • Unlike other big cats, the cougar cannot roar. Instead, the large feline purrs like a house cat.
  • The cougar is the second largest cat in North America.
  • Cougars can leap over 6 m (20 ft.).
  • During most of their lives, cougars are solitary creatures. They only interact with one another to mate.
  • For the most part, the cougar has no natural enemies and sits atop the food chain.

Learn more about cougars >