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OAKLAND, Calif. — Almost five months ago, three orphaned mountain lion cubs were found separately by the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW). All three of them were considered critically ill and malnourished when CDFW brought them to the Oakland Zoo in Oakland, Calif.
After a few months in quarantine and 24/7 care at the Zoo, the three cubs were introduced to one another—slowly, at first. However, the three cubs—a girl named Coloma and two boys named Toro and Silverado—quickly bonded and formed their own family unit.
Zookeepers say that the youngest, Coloma, was only 6-8 weeks old and near death when she arrived on December 23, and was unable to stand or walk from such severe dehydration and starvation. Now she is ‘the boss’ of her adopted brothers, who provide her constant affection and attention.
Nearly five months later, the three mountain lions are being introduced to a new environment—the Oakland Zoo's brand-new California Trail exhibit.
CDFW determined that the three cubs could not be released back into the wild. Although all three were fully rehabilitated, they lacked the kind of survival skills that wild mountain lions learn in those early days.
“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.
According to the Oakland Zoo's staff, the three mountain lions immediately to to their new habitat, climbing into the comfort of big oak trees within the California Trail enclosure. Preferring to be more active at night, cameras have shown them rough-housing in their caves, resting platforms and grassy hillsides in the dark hours.
“It’s been a long road to recovery for each of these orphaned puma, and a very emotional time for all of us who have helped them become normal young cats. Sometimes shy, other times wacky, and often sleepy, its fills my heart to see them act like mountain lions,” said Darren Minier, Assistant Director of Animal Care, Conservation and Research at Oakland Zoo.
— Oakland Zoo (@oakzoo) April 25, 2018
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