(KRON) — Two mountain lions that were rescued as cubs in separate parts of Santa Cruz County will arrive at their new forever home Thursday.

The mountain lions, named Hazel and Holly, became inseparably bonded with each other while they were rehabilitated for months at the Oakland Zoo. The Oakland Zoo has one of the top cougar cub rescue facilities in California.

Zoo officials wrote Wednesday, “It’s Cub Departure Day Eve — hard to believe we’ll soon be saying goodbye to Hazel and Holly. They’ve come so far, from being critically ill rescues to bonded, thriving young mountain lions. We want to acknowledge everyone who helped rescue, rehabilitate, and raise these orphaned cubs. It has clearly taken a village to care for these two, and we appreciate everyone’s efforts along the way.”

Holly and Hazel
Holly and Hazel bonded as they grew up together at the Oakland Zoo’s wildlife rescue center. (Image courtesy Oakland Zoo)

The Oakland Zoo’s permanent mountain lion habitat exhibit is already full of rescued cougars and does not have enough room for the adorable duo.

Hazel and Holly will be transported to Big Bear Alpine Zoo in Southern California on Thursday.

Holly the mountain lion is seen on the day she was rescued in December 2022. (Image courtesy the Oakland Zoo)

Holly was just a tiny cub when a Santa Cruz resident found her underneath the homeowner’s deck last December. At first, the homeowner was hopeful that the cub’s mother was out hunting for food and would retrieve her youngster soon. Days went by without any signs of the mother mountain lion, and the cub remained alone. Holly was rescued by the California Department of Fish & Wildlife and brought to the Oakland Zoo for emergency veterinary care.

Holly received emergency veterinary care when she arrived at the Oakland Zoo in December 2022. (Image courtesy Oakland Zoo)

Hazel was found abandoned in Soquel one month after Holly. A local resident found 4-month-old Hazel when the cub weighed just 12 pounds.

Both cubs did not have enough time with their mothers to learn survival skills, so they will remain in captivity.

One of the Oakland Zoo’s most popular residents, Donna the African elephant, will also be moving soon. Donna’s best friend, an elephant named Lisa, passed away in April.

Zoo officials wrote, “Some of you have asked us what will happen with Donna, Lisa’s life-long best friend and companion, since she is now our only female elephant. For now, we have been giving Donna lots of care and extra attention and have been working very hard to find the best solution for her, based on her particular social needs and lifelong well-being.”

Zoo officials explained, “Because female elephants are deeply social with each other and create life-long close bonds (more so than males), our priority has been to ensure Donna lives with other compatible females as she enters the late stages of her life.”

The Oakland Zoo decided to move Donna to The Elephant Sanctuary in Tennessee where she can make new friends with other female African elephants.

Zoo officials wrote, “This move will allow Donna to join a larger group of three female African elephants there, Flora, Tange, and Sukari, all of similar age and social experience to Donna. We are happy to have found a permanent ideal situation for Donna, and her opportunity for new lifelong companions at a new home as dedicated to her well-being as we are.”

Donna will make the move to TES sometime later next month or in early June.