The orphaned cub was taken to the Oakland Zoo where he is on antibiotics and fluids

By Georgia Slater
October 02, 2020 01:35 PM
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Courtesy Oakland Zoo

A mountain lion cub is on the mend after being rescued from one of California's devastating wildfires.

The three-and-a-half pound animal was found Sunday by a firefighter in Shasta County amid California's Zogg Fire, the Oakland Zoo told CNN.

The cub was taken to the California Department of Fish and Wildlife and later transferred to the Oakland Zoo.

Erin Harrison, a spokesperson for the zoo, said it was "a miracle" that the cub survived the fire.

The small brown-and-white animal is currently recovering from burn injuries. His whiskers were singed off and his paws were badly burned in the disaster.

"We are so grateful for the Oakland Zoo’s expertise, world-class facilities, and willingness to step up – on extremely short notice – to help wildlife in need," said CDFW’s senior wildlife veterinarian Dr. Deana Clifford in a press release.

"Partnerships like this are absolutely critical to our state’s efforts to provide emergency care," she added. "California’s wildfires are erupting on a scale that we’ve never seen before, and we expect that we’ll have more burn patients than we have the capacity to treat in our own veterinary facility.”

Wildlife biologist Pete Figura said the animal was "alert and feisty" during his trip bringing the cub to the zoo.

"That gave me hope that he would be okay," Figura said.

Courtesy Oakland Zoo
Courtesy Oakland Zoo

On Thursday, x-rays were taken to check the cub's lungs for any damage caused by smoke inhalation or if the animal had any broken bones.

Results from the x-rays showed that the cub was fine but had significant damage to the soft tissue of his paws as well as irritation in his eyes, CNN reported.

The cub is currently being treated with pain medication, antibiotics, and fluids. He is also being fed milk through a syringe.

The Oakland Zoo is working with the UC Davis Veterinary Medicine Teaching Hospital to treat the animal's burn wounds.

"We’re grateful to be part of this amazing little cub’s rescue and rehabilitation. It’s an amazing effort between Cal Fire, the Shasta County Sherriff’s Department, and of course our partners at the California Department of Fish & Wildlife," Dr. Alex Herman, Director of Oakland Zoo’s Veterinary Hospital said in a release.

"In the past two years, this marks our thirteenth mountain lion cub rescue for Oakland Zoo in partnership with CDFW," he added. "We’re cautiously optimistic that this cub will now survive and thrive, our dedicated team at Oakland Zoo is fully committed to do everything we can for him and for his beautiful species.”

According to Harrison, mountain lion cubs typically stay with their mothers for almost two years until they can hunt and survive by themselves.

However, since this cub is orphaned, he will not be released into the wild and will most likely be placed at an accredited zoo, Harrison added.

To help communities facing destructive wildfires in the Western U.S., consider donating to the following organizations:

The American Red Cross allows donors to direct funds to support people impacted by the fires.

GlobalGiving’s Wildfire Relief offers emergency funding to local efforts providing essentials to wildfire victims in need.

GoFundMe’s California Wildfire Relief Fund aims to “support a range of needs” by issuing “grants to individuals, organizations and communities that have either been impacted themselves or are dedicated to helping.“

The California Fire Foundation “provides emotional and financial assistance to families of fallen firefighters, firefighters and the communities they protect.“