Firefighters Rescue Orphaned Mountain Lion Cub From California Wildfires

The California wildfires have been devastating the state, destroying homes and wildlife habitats alike. And recently, a mountain lion cub was fortunate enough to be rescued from the blazes and is now on the mend from his injuries.

CNN reported that the three-and-a-half pound baby was rescued by a firefighter in Shasta County from the Zogg Fire. The little cub was first transferred to the California Department of Fish and Wildlife before making it to the Oakland Zoo. The zoo’s spokesperson, Erin Harrison, called it “a miracle” that the little mountain lion managed to make it through the fire alive.

The little tan and white cub is making strides in recovering from his injuries, which included having his whiskers burnt off, as well as badly burned paws. The CDFW’s senior wildlife veterinarian, Dr. Deana Clifford, shared in a press release that the team was grateful for the Oakland Zoo’s efforts to partner with them in order to help save the wildlife affected by the fires. She added that the state of California is experiencing fires like they’ve never seen before, and as a result, they’re anticipating plenty more animals who will be coming in with injuries as a result of the fires.

Photo: Facebook / Oakland Zoo

According to CNN, Pete Figura, a wildlife biologist, noted that the little cub seemed to be “alert and feisty” during his transport to the zoo – something that Figura said instilled some hope in him for the cub’s future. The press release shared that the cub was given some x-rays to check for any lung damage from smoke inhalation, or to see if he’d sustained any broken bones. Fortunately, the results came back showing the mountain lion was fine, however, he did have significant damage to the soft tissue of his paws as well as irritated eyes. The little mountain lion was treated with pain medication, antibiotics, and fluids. He was even administered milk through a syringe.

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The Oakland Zoo has partnered with the UC Davis Veterinary Medicine Teaching Hospital in order to heal the cub’s wounds. The Director of Oakland Zoo’s Veterinary Hospital, Dr. Alex Herman, stated in the press release, “We’re grateful to be part of this amazing little cub’s rescue and rehabilitation. It’s an amazing effort between Cal Fire, the Shasta County Sherriff’s Department, and of course our partners at the California Department of Fish & Wildlife.”

Photo: Facebook / Oakland Zoo

He added that they have, in the past two years, managed to rescue 13 mountain lion cubs thanks to the partnership between the CDFW and Oakland Zoo. Dr. Herman further shared that they remain “cautiously optimistic” that the little cub will eventually make a full recovery.

He added that most mountain lion cubs remain with their moms for nearly two years before they’re able to survive on their own. But because of the cub’s present status as an orphan, he most likely will not be released back into the wild but instead will be transferred to a “suitable forever home” once he’s ready.

It is wonderful that the little guy survived and we hope he makes a full recovery.

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