(KRON) — Two orphaned mountain lion cubs have a new home at the Oakland Zoo, the zoo announced Tuesday.
The kittens were found in a backyard in the Burlingame/Hillsboro area last weekend after their suspected mother was killed in a car crash on Highway 280, the zoo said. The young siblings were taken to the zoo on Tuesday where they were examined for health.
“These cubs became orphans when their mother was struck by a car on a busy highway, a tragedy suffered by wildlife when safe passage across their natural territories isn’t possible. We support and advocate for more wildlife crossings, such as the one opened in Santa Cruz earlier this year on Highway 17,” said Nik Dehejia, Oakland Zoo’s CEO.
Both kittens are females that were born just 6-10 weeks ago, per the zoo. One weighs 5 pounds and the other weighs 5.5 pounds.
The kittens were underweight and dehydrated when they were found, but aside from that they show no signs of serious illness. The zoo has been giving them fluids and is determining whether a blood transfusion is necessary.
“Our team will be caring for the cubs daily to restore them to full health and for their overall animal wellbeing,” said Dr. Alex Herman, Oakland Zoo’s Vice President of Veterinary Services.
The zoo says that mountain lion cubs need about two years in the wild with their mother to learn survival skills. Because these kittens did not develop those skills, they cannot return to the wild.