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Animal Shelter Gets 2 Mountain Lion Cubs

They are old enough to growl and swat at you with their sharp claws, but too young to survive on their own in the wild.

That’s why two orphaned mountain lion cubs from Wyoming were recently given a new home at the Wildlife Waystation shelter for abused or abandoned wild animals.

Martine Colette, director of the shelter, drove to St. George, Utah, to meet Wyoming wildlife authorities and pick up the cubs. Colette drove the young animals to Los Angeles in a trailer.

“It’s an opportunity to give them a life,” she said. “They’d be dead if they weren’t here.”

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About a month ago the cubs were rescued by Wyoming Game and Fish Department officials after a licensed hunter killed the cubs’ mother in the Snowy Range Mountains, near the Colorado border, said Terry Kreeger, a state wildlife veterinarian with the agency. He said state investigators were looking into the legality of the kill because the female mountain lion was shot with three cubs at her side, illegal under Wyoming law.

“You don’t shoot females with dependent babies,” Colette said.

The cubs, which are too young to hunt, were in bad shape when officials captured them, Kreeger said. “They were basically on their own, essentially starving.”

Wyoming authorities fed the mountain lions and kept them in a kennel cage while trying to find them a home, Kreeger said. Officials could only keep them a limited time before the animals would have to be euthanized, he said, adding that Wyoming Game and Fish kept a third male cub because it was lethargic and unfit to travel.

The shelter’s cubs, a male and a female, are about 5 months old and each weighs about 30 pounds, Colette said. There are more than 30 mountain lions at the Wildlife Waystation, she said. The mountain lions have yet to be named and Colette said she welcomes suggestions, as long as they are not human names. Shelter officials want the cubs to get used to people, and visitors will be able to see the cubs after they are quarantined for a month, she said. Colette herself cannot touch the cubs yet.

In the wild, the cubs would still be nursing, Colette said.

“They will probably stay here the rest of their lives,” she said. “We have a nice enclosure built for them.”


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