Mountain lion cub burned in California fire will not be freed into wild

A five-month-old mountain lion cub burned in the Sonoma, California forest fires will not be freed into the wild. Instead, he will live his life at a wildlife sanctuary. On Thursday, the California Fish and Wildlife Services stated the cub was too inexperienced to survive in the wild without his mother.

According to AbcNews, both Deanna Clifford, a senior veterinarian with the organization and Winston Vickers, a wildlife veterinarian and mountain lion expert with the University of California, Davis, where the cub is being treated agreed with the decision.


About a month ago, the cub was rescued after a civilian spotted him hiding near a residential street; his paws had been badly burned:

“City of Santa Paula – Government
Earlier today a citizen reported a mountain lion sighting in a brush off Main Street, between Dean and Steckel. #SantaPaulaPD set up a perimeter and called California Fish and Wildlife. After 4.5 hours, the team was able to get a blow dart tranquilizer on the animal. Upon capture, the animal was examined. The reported mountain lion was in fact a male mountain cub weighing about 40-60 lbs. The paws were burned from the Thomas Fire. The cub appears to be an orphan cub and if it was not captured today, would’ve most likely starved and died. It will be taken to Fish and Wildlife’s facility to be treated and moved to a center. A big “Thank you” to Santa Paula PD, Fish and Wildlife, and everyone involved for keeping the residents and cub safe.”
Mountain lions spend more than 18 months with their mothers learning how to hunt and survive. The adult cats seemed to have escaped the fires; many with electronic tracking collars have been verified as having survived. A second rescued cub wasn’t nearly as lucky. He was severely emaciated, and his wounds were too severe to have survived. Two bears that were also burned in the wildfire have since been released to Los Padres National Forest this month.
The cub will be taken to a wildlife rescue center where he will be slowly introduced to another mountain lion that also was rescued as a cub. They will live together in a naturally landscaped 100 x 50 foot enclosure  at the Sonoma County Wildlife Rescue Center and have trees to climb and brush to hide behind. It is hoped the other mountain lion – a female will make the cub feel welcome and secure.
(Photos of lion cub via Facebook, California Fish and Wildlife, University of California Davis)

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