OAKLAND, Calif. (KRON) — Two mountain lions cubs who were rescued from opposite sides of the San Francisco Bay Area earlier this year have become best friends at the Oakland Zoo.

The zoo’s wildlife veterinarians recently let the cute cubs, named Rose and Sage, meet for the first time.

The Oakland Zoo shared adorable photos of the cougars snuggling and bonding. Rose is a female and about the same age as the male cub.

“These two rescued mountain lion cubs now snuggle and sleep together. Rose is definitely the boss! Both are gaining weight and growing up fast. Our big cat rescue team (including vet staff and animal care staff) continue to work with these two cubs daily on learning basic behaviors to help with their care. We’re thrilled these two have become fast friends,” the zoo wrote on Twitter.

Rose and Sage are seen bonding at the Oakland Zoo. (Image courtesy Oakland Zoo).

Rose was just five-months-old when she was found in April by hikers in the Thornewood Open Space Preserve of San Mateo.

A ranger with the Midpeninsula Regional Open Space District and two biologists with the California Department of Fish and Wildlife tracked down the tiny, extremely underweight cub before she was brought to the zoo’s wildlife rescue center.

Rose gets a health checkup shortly after being rescued from a hiking trail. (Image courtesy Oakland Zoo)

Sage was originally known as the “Pescadero classroom cougar” because he hid under a teacher’s desk at Pescadero High School on June 1.

Students were arriving for school to take final exams when the lost cub scampered into the classroom. A school employee shut the classroom door until CDFW officials arrived to figure out what to do.

The Oakland Zoo’s big cat experts determined that he was likely an orphan and less than eight months old. The classroom cougar was later named “Sage” because “his care team wanted a plant-themed name to match Rose,” the zoo wrote.

Classroom cougar
Sage hides in a classroom. (Image courtesy Oakland Zoo)

The two mountain lions have spent the summer growing stronger and healthier.

“Caring for mountain lions in need has become an Oakland Zoo specialty, as we have received many sick or injured pumas of all ages through a partnership with California Department of Fish and Wildlife,” the zoo wrote.

From photographs released by the zoo over the weekend, it appears they are grateful to have each other now for support.

Rose and Sage
Rose and Sage bonded after meeting at the Oakland Zoo. (Image courtesy Oakland Zoo).

It’s unknown why Sage and Rose became separated from their mothers. Cougar cubs stay with the mothers for up to two years learning how to hunt and survive in the wild, and without those skills, Sage and Rose cannot return to the wild, zoo officials said.

Instead, the Oakland Zoo and CDFW will work together in finding Rose and Sage a good home at another zoo. 

Rose and Sage were the eighteenth and nineteenth orphaned mountain lion cubs that Oakland Zoo has received and rehabilitated from the CDFW since 2017. For three of the eighteen, Coloma, Toro, and Silverado, there was space available at Oakland Zoo for them to stay permanently. They can be seen daily by the public in the zoos’ California Trail section.