Oregon Zoo caring for cougar cub orphaned by landslide - KPTV - FOX 12

Oregon Zoo caring for cougar cub orphaned by landslide

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(courtesy Oregon Zoo) (courtesy Oregon Zoo)

There is a new visitor at the Oregon Zoo who is recovering after being trapped in a landslide before heading off to a new home in Minnesota.

Zoo officials say officers with the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife rescued an orphaned cougar cub that was separated from its mother by a landslide that happened Sunday in Pend Oreille County.

The cub is a 5-week-old male that weighs just 4 pounds, and zoo officials say the cub has a fuzzy, spotted coat, baby-blue eyes and what they describe as a surprisingly big voice.

Concerned the cub would not be able to survive alone in the wild, Washington officials reached out to Oregon Zoo keeper Michelle Schireman, who is also the cougar species coordinator with the Association of Zoos and Aquariums.

“Without a mother, young cougars can’t survive on their own in the wild, so I work to find them good homes,” Schireman said in a release. “We would rather they grow up with their moms, but when that’s not an option we want them to have the best lives possible.”

Schireman has placed more than 120 cubs into zoos around the country. After its short stay in Portland, she said the cub will head to a permanent home at the Minnesota Zoo just south of Minneapolis.

“In most cases, we try to arrange for orphaned cubs to go directly to their new homes,” Schireman explained.“But in special situations, and depending on whether we have space, we sometimes take care of them at the zoo until their health has stabilized. It’s a lot to ask of our staff, but everyone here is incredibly dedicated to helping wildlife. Our vet staff and keepers have been taking shifts to make sure this little guy receives around-the-clock care with feedings every four hours.”

For more about the cougar programs at the Oregon Zoo, visit OregonZoo.org.

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