COLORADO SPRINGS – The Cheyenne Mountain Zoo has taken in three 6-week-old mountain lion cubs after their mother died last week in Washington state.
The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife said the mother died after they responded to a “human-wildlife conflict that resulted in the cubs’ mother’s death.” Wildlife officials say the cubs couldn’t survive on their own in the wild.
The zoo said this is the second group of orphaned cubs it has adopted. The cubs will be kept in the Rocky Mountain Wild exhibit, where they will eventually be introduced to Kaya, the zoo’s female lion that currently lives in the exhibit.
Kaya was a member of the first group of orphaned cubs that arrived at the zoo from Wyoming in 2006. Three other members of that litter have died. Two of those lions died recently.
“Motega and Tocho both passed in the last four months, so we’re hoping Kaya, who is blind and aging, will enjoy having company again,” said Rebecca Zwicker, senior lead keeper in Rocky Mountain Wild. “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. It would be ideal if they could live together because the cubs can learn how to be mountain lions from Kaya.”
Zoo guests will be able to see the two sisters and a brother after they spend time in quarantine to receive vaccinations and other checks to ensure they’re healthy.