OAKLAND, Calif. (KRON) — An orphaned mountain lion cub first spotted last Tuesday by hikers has been found and brought to the Oakland Zoo for medical treatment and rehabilitation. Already named “Rose” by care givers at the zoo, the female cub, which is estimated to be four to five months old, was in critical medical condition when she arrived at the zoo’s veterinary hospital on Sunday afternoon.
“Based on her initial exam, it appears she hasn’t eaten in weeks. She is excruciatingly thin. To survive, her body resorted to consuming its own muscle mass,” said VP of Veterinary Services at Oakland Zoo, Dr. Alex Herman. “She is also suffering from extreme dehydration, and her temperature was so low it couldn’t even be read.”
The mountain lion cub was first spotted on Tuesday, April 5 in the Thornewood Open Space Preserve in San Mateo, part of the MidPeninsula Open Space District. Wildlife biologists from Midpen contacted the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) in an effort to find the elusive cub. Cameras were set up in the area and daily patrols were conducted.
The cub was spotted again on Friday on-camera but had disappeared by the time wildlife biologists arrived. The cub was finally located and retrieved on Sunday by a Midpen wildlife biologist, a ranger and two biologists from CDFW. It was then that she was brought to the zoo where a veterinary team was standing by to receive her and begin treatment.
In addition to being starved and dehydrated, the cub was covered in fleas and ticks. Now receiving round the clock care, the cub has a very low red blood cell count and may require a blood transfusion, according to Dr. Ryan Sadler of the Oakland Zoo. Veterinarians at the zoo are guardedly optimistic about the cub’s recovery.
Thornewood Open Space Preserve will remain closed through Friday, April 15 and people are advised to avoid the area.