Orphaned, burned mountain lion rescued from California fire


OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) — An orphaned mountain lion cub who was badly burned in a Northern California wildfire is being treated at the Oakland Zoo after being rescued.

The male cub, believed to be four to six weeks old, had his whiskers singed off and his paws severely burned. A state firefighter battling the Zogg Fire in Redding rescued him Wednesday, the zoo said in a statement Thursday. As a result, he was named Captain Cal, after the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection’s mascot.

The cougar, who weighs less than 4 pounds, was taken to the zoo’s veterinary hospital, where he was cleaned and given antibiotics, pain medications and fed a milk formula for kittens through a syringe, the zoo said.

X-rays determined he didn’t have any lung damage from smoke or bone damage to his paws.

A vet said that “he is currently eating on his own and acting feisty – both promising signs for his recovery,” the zoo said.

Mountain lions usually stay with their mothers until they are about 2 years old in order to learn survival skills, the zoo said. But this the animal was orphaned and now can’t learn those skills, the zoo said.

“He will be placed in a suitable forever home once he’s ready to leave” the veterinary hospital, the zoo said.

“We’re cautiously optimistic that this cub will now survive and thrive,” said Dr. Alex Herman, director of veterinary services at the zoo.

The Zogg Fire that began Sunday in far northern Shasta County has killed four people and destroyed 170 homes and other buildings. It was 56% contained Friday.