An orphaned mountain lion cub rescued from the wild in the Sierra Nevada is recovering at the Oakland Zoo after coming close to dying, officials said.
This most recent arrival on Dec. 23 was about 6 to 8 weeks old and near death, unable to stand or walk from severe dehydration and starvation. She has not been named.
According to zoo officials, her starvation was so severe her body was consuming its own muscles.
But zoo officials said she is now walking and showing signs of life after she received continuous intravenous fluids for six days and round-the-clock bottle-feedings by zoo veterinary staff.
She is now eating solid foods regularly, showing spunk and playing with items meant to keep her engaged.
She was found early in the morning Dec. 21 on the side of a road in Coloma, an unincorporated community in El Dorado County.
A couple who discovered her said she stayed in the same spot for hours and tried unsuccessfully to drag herself away when the couple approached her.
The couple got in touch with Sierra Wildlife Rescue, which got in touch with the California Department of Fish and Wildlife.
Two other orphaned cubs have come to the zoo in fewer than 60 days from Orange County where they were found separately 2 weeks apart.
The latest arrived Dec. 11. Both are males and are now about 4 to 5 months old.
Zoo officials are going to conduct DNA testing to see whether they are siblings since they appear to be the same age and they were found in the same area about 15 miles apart.
An adult female mountain lion was struck and killed by a motorist close to where the cubs were rescued so she may be their mother.
Zoo officials say they can't send the cub back into the wild because she was separated from her mother before learning survival skills.
Mountain lion cubs need their mother to learn how to hunt effectively.
The three adopted cubs will live in a new area that will be part of the zoo's 56-acre California Trail expansion.
The cubs' new home will be ready next month or in March and is expected to open to the public in June.
It will include mature oak trees where the cubs can climb, rest and perch and rocky outcroppings that create caves where they can rest and hide.
The new home for the cubs may be the largest mountain lion habitat in the world at 26,000 square feet.