Friday, September 15, 2006

3 orphaned cougar cubs found in Sierra Nevada foothills

By: Michael Althouse, Record Staff Writer
Wednesday, September 13, 2006 6:35 PM PDT
Colfax Record, California

Three orphaned mountain lion cubs were discovered last Friday morning in the backyard of a home near Yankee Jims Road and Canyon Way in Weimar.

According to Lisa Smith, her husband, Steve Smith, captured two of the cubs after his dog discovered them in their yard. One cub evaded capture and ran away.

"They were underneath the air conditioning unit in the back of the house," said Lisa Smith.

After he penned the cubs in a dog transport, according to his wife, Steve Smith called Gold Country Wildlife Rescue to take the cubs.

Gold Country Wildlife Rescue volunteers brought bottles with them to feed the cubs.

"We were expecting babies," said a rescue volunteer, who spoke on condition her name wouldn't be used. "These cubs were 5 to 6 months old."

About a month ago, a female mountain lion was killed by a car less than a mile away from where the cubs were found, she said. According to the volunteer, the cubs were severely emaciated, weighing 12 to 14 pounds each instead of the normal 30 to 40 pounds.

The cubs were turned over to the California Department of Fish and Game to be nursed back to health. "Unfortunately, one expired after 48 hours," said Captain Mark Lucero of the fish and game department. The cub that evaded rescuers is presumed dead. Fish and Game Department officials will try to place the surviving cub with a zoo.

"It can't be returned to the wild after they have had extended human contact," Lucero said. "We have pretty good luck placing them. We just placed two orphaned (cubs) in Colusa a couple of weeks ago."

Lucero said cubs that cannot be returned to the wild have found homes at places like Marine World and the San Diego Zoo.

Residents who see mountain lions can call the Department of Fish and Game at (916) 358-2900. news/top_stories/01cubs.txt

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