OAKLAND, Calif. (KRON) —  Two mountain lions who were rescued as tiny cubs in the San Francisco Bay Area are heading to a new forever home, Oakland Zoo officials announced.

Rose and Sage were found separately as orphans in the wild just two months apart before they became best friends at the zoo’s wildlife rescue center.

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

Rose
Rose was a cub when she was rescued. (Image courtesy Oakland Zoo)

Sage was originally nicknamed the “Classroom Cougar” because he darted into a classroom and hid under a teacher’s desk at Pescadero High School in June. Big cat experts determined that he was less than eight months old.

Classroom cougar
Sage hides in a classroom at Pescadero High School. (Image courtesy Oakland Zoo)

The zoo’s wildlife team allowed Rose and Sage to meet at the rescue center in July. The male and female cougars instantly became inseparable and spent hours cuddling together.

The Oakland Zoo is home to several mountain lions, however, it does not currently have enough habitat space for Rose and Sage. Cubs usually stay with the mothers for two years learning survival skills, and without those skills, returning to the wild was also not an option for the duo, zoo officials said.

This week the zoo revealed that a “forever home” had been found for the cougar pals. “The dynamic duo is headed soon to their new forever home: The Living Desert Zoo & Gardens, in Palm Desert, California,” the zoo wrote. “We will dearly miss these rescued mountain lions … but we are excited for them to be at a permanent home.”

The Living Desert Zoo is accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums.

The Oakland Zoo wrote on Twitter Wednesday, “Tomorrow these two marvelous mountain lions leave Oakland Zoo and road trip south to Palm Desert.”

Rose (Image courtesy Oakland Zoo Keeper Nikki)
Sage, left, and Rose, right, instantly bonded after meeting at the wildlife rescue center. (Image courtesy Oakland Zoo Hospital Keeper Nikki)

Rose and Sage were the eighteenth and nineteenth orphaned mountain lion cubs that Oakland Zoo has rehabilitated over the past five years. Three of the cougars, named Coloma, Toro, and Silverado, can be seen daily by the public in Oakland Zoo’s California Trail habitat.