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Zoo Caring For Emaciated, Orphaned Mountain Lion Cub Spotted By Hikers

Published: April 14, 2022 at 10:55 AM Author: Penny Eims

Oakland, CA – A mountain lion cub, presumed to have been orphaned and left without food for weeks, is safe and receiving care at the Oakland Zoo. The cub, dubbed Rose, was first spotted by hikers who noticed that she was alone and underweight.


According to a release from the zoo, Rose is believed to be four or five months of age, and she likely had not eaten “for weeks” at the time that she was captured. Dr. Alex Herman, VP of Veterinary Services at Oakland Zoo, said:

“Based on her initial exam, it appears she hasn’t eaten in weeks. She is excruciatingly thin. To survive, her body resorted to consuming its own muscle mass. She is also suffering from extreme dehydration, and her temperature was so low it couldn’t even be read. But she survived her first night, which was critical. We can already tell she has a feisty spirit and an obvious will to live, and we’re thankful for that.

Hikers spotted the cub last Tuesday in the Thornewood Open Space Preserve in San Mateo but she wasn’t captured until Sunday afternoon. She is now receiving round-the-clock care and the zoo’s veterinary staff is “guardedly optimistic” about her recovery.

Rose receiving care via Oakland Zoo

On Wednesday, the zoo updated the public with Rose’s current condition, writing:

Today, our vet team worked with our Animal Care staff to get a blood sample from our resident mountain lion Silverado. His blood was tested and found to be a good match for a transfusion for little Rose. 150ml of blood was drawn from Silverado and transported to Rose in the hospital, who is receiving this life-affirming transfusion as we speak!
Silverado is recovering well up at California Trail, and Rose is already looking better, but is still extremely underweight and fragile. We will keep you posted as we continue her round-the-clock care.

Follow Rose as she continues to recover at this link to the Oakland Zoo Facebook page.


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Kate Kenner
Kate Kenner
5 months ago

Thank goodness she was found and rescued. I applaud the Oakland Zoo for caring for her but I hope she will go to a place where she can be wild-either in the wild or a sanctuary-and not be kept in the zoo.

5 months ago
Reply to  Kate Kenner

That would be the ideal Kate, but would she be at risk from adult lions, and morons with guns if released into the wild?