Orphaned Mountain Lions Find Forever Home at Living Desert Zoo: VIDEO

by Taylor Cunningham

Two mountain lions orphaned as cubs this summer in California have finally found their forever home at the Living Desert Zoo & Gardens.

The wildcats, Rose and Sage, have been living at the Oakland Zoo since their rescues. But yesterday (Sept 22), they moved to the new zoo in Palm Desert, California.

“We’ll share more of their move, and let you know when they arrive to Living Desert safe and sound,” Oakland Zoo announced on Twitter on Sept. 21.

In a video, one of two wildlife hospital keepers tasked with preparing the mountain lions for the move explained that she has been “working on developing their social skills and building their ability to travel and go to a new facility with positive experiences.”

“We’ve been working really hard to crate train both the cats so they will voluntarily go into these crates. We’ll be able to close the doors with them calmly inside and then send them off to their forever home at the Living Desert,” she shared.

Mountain Lion Cubs Were Rescued Only Two Months Apart This Summer

According to Kron 4, Rose and Sage were found two months apart, and they’ve since become best friends.

Hikers spotted Rose wandering alone in the Thornewood Open Space Preserve of San Mateo in April. She was five months old at the time.

Sage, dubbed “Classroom Cougar,” made headlines in June when she ran into a Pescadero High School classroom and took refuge under a teacher’s desk. She was only eight months old. California Department of Fish and Wildlife officials attempted to find his mother. But they soon determined that the mother had likely died.

When Oakland Zoo took the second orphan in, they named him Sage to match the “plant theme” they began with Rose. The two mountain lions met in July, once vets medically cleared Sage. And they have since become inseparable. Handlers said that they immediately gravitated to each other and spent their first few hours cuddling.

Their former home houses several other mountain lions, but it does not have enough habitat space for Sage and Rose. The two were the eighteenth and nineteenth orphaned cubs to take shelter at the Oakland Zoo in the past five years alone. The establishment already homes three of those cougars, Coloma, Toro, and Silverado, permanently.

When mountain lions are rescued from the wild, they’re often rehabilitated and re-released. But because these two were orphaned at such a young age, they did not learn necessary survival skills from their mothers. Without those, going back to the wild is not an option.