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Orphaned mountain lion cub rescued, treated at California zoo

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Posted at 7:07 AM, Apr 13, 2022
and last updated 2022-04-13 10:38:58-04

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — An orphaned and emaciated mountain lion cub spotted by hikers in the San Francisco area was brought to the Oakland Zoo, where veterinarians have named her "Rose" and are trying to nurse her back to health.

An initial exam indicated that Rose had not eaten in weeks, Dr. Alex Herman, the zoo's vice president of Veterinary Services, said in a statement Tuesday. The cub, estimated to be about five months old, weighs just 8.8 pounds. The average female cub her age should weigh about 30 pounds.

"She is excruciatingly thin. To survive, her body resorted to consuming its own muscle mass," he said. "She is also suffering from extreme dehydration, and her temperature was so low it couldn't even be read."

Hikers first spotted Rose at the Thornewood Open Space Preserve in San Mateo County and reported the sighting to authorities who sent a team of biologists and wildlife officials to find the cub. The search took five days.

After a day of treatment, veterinarians are guardedly optimistic about Rose's recovery. She is receiving fluids and hydration intravenously and being bottle-fed small amounts of formula several times a day.

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Orphaned mountain lion cub rescued, treated at California zoo

"We can already tell she has a feisty spirit and an obvious will to live, and we're thankful for that," Herman said.

Rose is the 18th orphaned mountain lion cub Oakland Zoo has received and rehabilitated from the state since 2017, zoo officials said. Three of the 18, Coloma, Toro, and Silverado, still reside at the Oakland Zoo.