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St. Paul zoo welcomes orphaned mountain lion cubs

Two recently orphaned puma cubs -- also known as mountain lion and cougar -- from different locations in Northern California are now playing, bonding, and calling Como Zoo home. The pumas arrived from California to Como on October 30, 2018 after being cared for by Oakland Zoo wildlife specialists. Courtesy of the Oakland Zoo

ST. PAUL -- St. Paul's Como Zoo is now home to two recently orphaned mountain lion cubs.

The cubs, who arrived at the zoo on Oct. 30, come from different areas of northern California. They are a male and female, about 8 to 12 weeks old. Mountain lions are also known as pumas or cougars.

“Although it is heartbreaking circumstances that brought us these beautiful cats, we are happy to be able to provide a home, the care, and support that these animals will need to thrive as individuals and as a species,” said Michelle Furrer, director of Como Park Zoo & Conservatory, in a statement.

The male cub became an orphaned when its mother — believed to have been killing sheep — was shot under a depredation permit. In California, anyone with property damage caused by mountain lions can get a depredation permit to protect their property.

The female cub was picked up by the California Department of Fish and Wildlife and in poor shape due to dehydration, parasites and burrs. It was reported to state officials by a property owner who heard “chirps” from what he believed to be a bird over a several-day period. The cubs make a high-pitched “chirping” sound when calling for their mother.

Nicole Carion, the California Department of Fish and Wildlife’s rehabilitation coordinator, said in a statement. “Returning injured or orphaned wildlife to the wild is always the ideal outcome, but in situations like this — where an animal is too young to have the necessary survival skills — placing it back in the wild would be a death sentence.”

The cubs will go through a 30-day quarantine at the zoo before they are on display for the public.