Lifestyle & Human Interest

Mountain Lion Cub Severely Burned by CA Wildfires Has Whiskers Completely Singed Off


One of the many difficult aspects of dealing with wildfires is caring for the animals who are injured as a result of the blaze.

This little fighter who was discovered last week in California is a young mountain lion, only a few weeks old.

He was discovered in the wake of the destructive Zogg Wildfire on Wednesday by Cal Fire.

Cal Fire called the Shasta County Sheriff’s Department, who called the California Department of Fish and Wildlife, who called the Oakland Zoo to see if they could help. By 7:15 p.m. Wednesday, the cub was in the care of the zoo.

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“We are treating an orphaned baby mountain lion who was injured in the Zogg fire near Redding,” the Oakland Zoo posted Friday.

“This little male was rescued by a firefighter and brought to Oakland Zoo by the California Department of Fish and Wildlife, where we are doing everything we can to nurture him back to health.”

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife has understandably been inundated with cases, and Dr. Deana Clifford with the CDFW praised the zoo for its efforts.

“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,” Clifford said, according to an update from the Oakland Zoo.

“Partnerships like this are absolutely critical to our state’s efforts to provide emergency care. 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.”

‍”Unfortunately, a lion this size is too small to be released back into the wild, but we are hopeful that under the Zoo’s care, it will get a second chance as an ambassador for its species.”

The poor cub suffered many injuries.

Not only were his whiskers melted to stubs, but his eyes were also irritated and his paws severely burnt by the fire.

Further testing showed that the cub had a good chance despite his obvious wounds, and the little cat — not even four pounds in weight — has been eating and showing a bit of attitude, giving his caretakers hope.

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“The orphaned mtn lion rescued from the #ZoggFire has a name: Captain Cal….named after CAL FIRE’s mascot,” the zoo posted Friday.

“Our vet staff is treating Captain Cal’s injured feet today. He’s been eating & looks much better than he did when he arrived. We’ll keep you posted on how he’s doing!”

The director of the zoo’s hospital, Dr. Alex Herman, said this was the 13th cub they’d rescued in the past two years, and that the baby looks like he should pull through.

“We’re grateful to be part of this amazing little cub’s rescue and rehabilitation,” he said.

“It’s an amazing effort between Cal Fire, the Shasta County Sheriff’s Department, and of course our partners at the California Department of Fish & Wildlife.

“In the past two years, this marks our thirteenth mountain lion cub rescue for Oakland Zoo in partnership with CDFW. 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.”

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