COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — Three 6-week-old mountain lion cubs from Washington have a new home in Colorado after their mother was killed in a human-wildlife conflict.
The cubs — one female, two males — were found by Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) after an undisclosed conflict resulted in their mother’s death. Staff found the three cubs in a den and a specialist worked to find a home for the three youngsters, who wouldn’t survive on their own in the wild.
“We’re excited to provide a home for these young, playful cubs,” she said. “Of course, these situations are bittersweet. We wish we didn’t have to find homes for orphaned cubs, but we’re grateful for our partnerships with the Species Survival Plan and WDFW, because we can offer the cubs an amazing life of choices, care and compassion.”
This is the second litter of orphaned lion cubs that the zoo has rescued. The first litter came from Wyoming in 2006 and only one female from that original group, Kaya, is still alive, though she is old and blind. She currently lives in the Rocky Mountain Wild exhibit.
The zoo said it will ensure the cubs are healthy and then hopes to introduce them to Kaya. Staff said they hope she will enjoy the company.
“We’ll take our time letting Kaya and the cubs have opportunities to interact from a safe distance, and then we’ll follow their lead,” Zwicker said. “It would be ideal if they could live together, because the cubs can learn how to be mountain lions from Kaya.”
She said the cubs will become ambassadors for their wild relatives and can help visitors learn more about the native species, their behaviors and ecosystems, and how to live with them peacefully.
Guests will be able to see the cubs in the coming weeks.