Mountain Lion Cubs to Feature in Oakland Zoo's New Exhibit

The Oakland Zoo has announced that their new California Trail expansion will include two recently orphaned mountain lion cubs. The cubs will live on the 56-acre exhibit along with grizzly bears, a herd of bison and grey wolves.

Both cubs were discovered roaming around Orange County by themselves. The first cub became confused when his mother was killed by a car in November 2017. After a few days, he strayed into a local neighborhood in Silverado Canyon where he was spotted by residents and rescued by the by the Feline Conservation Center in Lake Forest.

The second cub was discovered three weeks later wandering aimlessly next to a busy road in Rancho Santa Margarita. He was estimated to be about 3 months old at the time of his capture. Wildlife rescue officials initially assumed that this second cub was the sibling of the first mountain lion and had somehow been separated from his brother. However, DNA testing showed that the two cubs are not closely related.

Wildlife conservationists hope that the cubs' story will help bring attention to the plight of mountain lions in California. According to experts, mountain lions in the Santa Ana have become increasingly trapped by rapidly expanding human populations. This causes pressure on mountain lions, who must traverse dangerous highways and risk killing livestock to feed themselves. As a result, adults are at risk for being killed by cars or by irate landowners, who can obtain a depredation permit, a document that legally allows them to shoot animals that kill their livestock. Without their mothers, orphaned cubs are not able to hunt and will eventually die of starvation if they are not saved in time.

The cubs, who have not been named yet, are the first mountain lions to live at the Oakland Zoo. Along with a herd of 20 American bison, they will form the linchpin of the park's new California Trail exhibit. The cubs will move into their new home in March 2018 when their enclosure next to the black bear and grizzly bear exhibits is completed. The California Trail exhibit will open to the public in June 2018 and will also include exhibits featuring jaguars and bald eagles.



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