Mountain Lion Cub Rescued From Wildfire, Taken to Oakland Zoo

“Unfortunately, a lion this size is too small to be released back into the wild, but we are hopeful..."

A mountain lion cub
Oakland Zoo

An orphaned mountain lion cub rescued this week inside a Shasta County wildfire zone was being treated for burns by veterinarians at the Oakland Zoo.

Cal Fire crews captured the cub Wednesday and contacted the Shasta County Sherriff’s Department, which in turn contacted the California Department of Fish and Wildlife, the zoo said. Wildlife officials then called the Oakland Zoo and made arrangements to transport the animal from Redding for treatment.

Dr. Lynette Waugh and the zoo's veterinary staff have been treating the young male cub, weighing only 3.75 pounds, since Wednesday night, the zoo said. He was badly burned on his paws, his whiskers were completely singed off, and he was suffering from severe eye irritation.

Dr. Alex Herman said Thursday the cub was eating on his own and acting feisty, promising signs that he is recovering, the zoo said.

"Unfortunately, a lion this size is too small to be released back into the wild, but we are hopeful that under the zoo’s care, it will get a second chance as an ambassador for its species," said CDFW’s senior wildlife veterinarian Dr. Deana Clifford.

In the wild, mountain lion cubs stay with their mothers until they are around two years of age in order to learn the skills to survive on their own, the zoo said. The cub will be placed in a suitable home once he’s ready to leave Oakland Zoo’s Veterinary Hospital.

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