TOLEDO, Oh. (WTVG)- Three new babies are now calling the Toledo Zoo home. The zoo has taken in three female cougar cubs orphaned by human-wildlife contact.
The three cougar cubs, also known as pumas or mountain lions, came to reside at the Toledo Zoo after the state of Washington’s Department of Fish and Wildlife reached out to the Association of Zoos and Aquariums to find the cats new homes following the loss of their mothers. The oldest cub is estimated to be 10-12 weeks old, weighs about 10 pounds and is from southeast Washington. The younger two cubs are approximately three weeks old, weigh about three and a half pounds each and are from northeast Washington. The younger cubs were part of a litter of four, with the other two cubs now residing at a zoo in New Jersey.
Cougars (Puma concolor) are found throughout North and South America and while they are not endangered, some populations are severely threatened. Additionally, the cougar has been extirpated from Ohio.
“The Toledo Zoo is proud to provide a home to these orphaned cougar cubs. As a part of our own mission and that of AZA, we always try to meet the needs of wildlife officials in placing orphaned native species. These cubs will not only provide a tangible connection to human-wildlife conflict, but also give Zoo guests the privilege of watching an elusive and often-villainized feline species grow and develop,” said Jeff Sailer, Toledo Zoo’s executive director.
The younger cubs can be viewed by the public during veterinarian supervised bottle feedings at 11:30 a.m. and 2:30 p.m. each day, near the indoor viewing of elephants in Tembo Trail. Times and availability may vary. “Viewing the bottle feedings is a particularly unique opportunity most outside of the Zoo field would never experience. We hope visitors will enjoy watching these cubs grow and explore while also gaining an appreciation for the importance of avoiding human wildlife conflict for the conservation of many incredible species, including cougars,” said Shayla Bell Moriarty, Toledo Zoo’s director of communication.