It took a move from the West Coast to the Midwest, but three orphaned cougar cubs now have a home.
The furry females arrived at the Toledo Zoo on Saturday night, following a long trip from the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife, reports the Toledo Blade.
Keepers from the zoo went out west to pick up the animals and transport them back. The trio is currently at the facility’s hospital, adjusting to their new home and maybe a little bit of jet lag.
The staff at the zoo know little about what orphaned the cubs, but were told a human-wildlife conflict was involved.
Two of the cubs, Columbia and Cascade, are 3-week-old sisters from the same litter. Because they are still so small, the pair requires regular bottle feedings from caretakers. The staff isn’t complaining: They adore watching the two 3½-lb. siblings play, purr and wiggle around.
The other cub is a bit older than her travel companions. Rainer weighs 10 lbs., is between 10 to 12 weeks old and is already eating solid food on her own. Unlike her younger friends, Rainer traded her juvenile camouflage stripes for a tan coat similar to the one she will have as a mature adult.
The zoo hopes that by watching these cuties grow up, visitors learn more about cougars — also known as pumas or mountain lions. While the species is not endangered, their populations are threatened in some areas because the big cat is often villainized.
Animal lovers can start learning about these felines — and get a behind-the-scenes look at how the Toledo Zoo cares for animals right ‘meow’ — by attending one of Cascade and Columbia’s bottle feedings at 11:30 a.m. or 2:30 p.m.
Once Cascade and Columbia are a bit bigger, the zoo will begin working on grouping all the cubs together to get them ready for a public debut.