Animals

New Santa Ana | Two mountain lion kittens welcomed at the OC Zoo

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ORANGE, CA – Vets and staff at OC Zoo care for two mountain lion kittens that were found outside the Thousand Oaks office complex.

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) brought the two cats to a local veterinary hospital in Orange County for treatment when they appeared to be suffering without any sign of their mother. After further evaluation and treatment, the two cats were transferred to the OC Zoo in Orange, California where they will later be housed in new home.

“OC Parks and I are thrilled to welcome our newest resident to our zoo,” Superintendent Wagner said after meeting the two cats. “It’s a great gift for the people of Orange County this holiday season.” Wagner continued, “Once they feel more comfortable in their new home, and our Big Mammal wrap is ready for them early next year, we’ll introduce the newest Orange County stars for what I’m sure will be their beloved audience.”

An employee of the Thousand Oaks office building adjacent to the open space reported on November 29 that he saw four mountain lion kittens under a picnic table near the building. According to the National Park Service (NPS), the animals appeared to be about six weeks old and were lonely and skinny, but they are in stable condition.

NPS biologists captured and examined the kittens, fitted them with small tracking collars, and monitored them with trail cameras to see if their mother would return. After a few days, with no sign of the mother, they noticed that one of the kittens was in particularly poor health. CDFW rescued the cats that day, December 1, and took them to a local vet.

Two cats died overnight. CDFW took the two surviving cats to the Orange County Veterinary Hospital the next day. After that, the two cats were taken to the OC Zoo for further care.

According to the NPS, it is possible that their mother has either killed or abandoned the kittens. Because of their young age, they cannot be released back into the wild.

The OC Zoo will continue to care for the cats. The animals are not yet available for the public to view.

The zoo will house them in the future The habitat of large mammals. The residence is currently under construction and is scheduled to open early next year.

The OC Zoo, within Irvine Provincial Park, focuses on animals indigenous to the southwestern United States, including the black bear, mountain lion, eagle, beaver, porcupine, bobcat, and more. Many are wounded, orphaned, confiscated or cannot be released into the wild.

An NPS press release on cat monitoring and rescue can be found here: https://www.nps.gov/samo/learn/news/four-mountain-lion-kittens-found-outside-a-thousand-oaks-office-complex.htm

OC Parks manages approximately 60,000 acres of parks, historic, coastal facilities, and open spaces for Orange County as part of OC Community Resources. http://www.ocparks.com

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