Oakland Zoo to care for orphaned mountain lion cubs rescued in Half Moon Bay

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The Oakland Zoo is now caring for two mountain lion cubs that were found wandering in Half Moon Bay while the Department of Fish and Wildlife searches for a permanent home for them.

Residents in Half Moon Bay first spotted the cubs on Sunday and notified officials, including the San Mateo County Sheriff’s Office and the Department of Fish and Wildlife. The Bay Area Puma Project got involved and determined the cubs had no mother. The cubs were then taken to the Oakland Zoo Veterinary Hospital where they are being rehabilitated.

“We’re just here to help get them in a healthy situation and to take as best care as we can until there is a resolution and plan” Amy Gotliffe, the Director of Conservation at the Oakland Zoo, said. 

Executive Director of The Bay Area Puma Project, Ginger Thomson, said the organization is conducting a study in San Mateo County on mountain lions. They have 40 trail cameras that watch the animals as they try to understand their pattern of behavior.

“We don’t know what happened to the mother, but these cubs seem to have come from the woods and really appear not to have known what to do with themselves,” Thomson said.

The cubs are believed to be siblings and are roughly four months old. They were given full exams by veterinarians at the zoo on Tuesday night.

“They did have some scrapes, they had some cuts, they had ticks, one was fairly malnourished,” Gotliffe said of the cubs. 

Thomson said despite concerns from the public about mountain lion populations increasing in the Bay Area, their cameras are not seeing that. She added that the cubs will not return to the wild.

“Cubs this age really need far more nurturing and training by their mothers,” Thomson said. “At this point, they’re out of the wild.”

The Oakland Zoo already has three adult mountain lions that they received under similar circumstances. The cubs will likely not stay at the zoo. Though it’s unclear where they will end up, they’re said to be doing well.