Holly and Hazel

Oakland Zoo

Holly and Hazel

Holly, a 3-4 month old mountain lion cub, was first discovered by a homeowner in Boulder Creek, California, who alerted CDFW. After waiting to see if the cub's mother would return (she didn't) and based on her poor conditions, CDFW made the decision to bring her to the Oakland Zoo's veterinary hospital on December 19, 2022.

Holly arrived in critically ill condition. Our medical team treated her with fluids, vitamins, anti-nausea medications, anti-parasitics, and prepared her a warm room in the ICU. She was also given the named Holly, in honor of the holiday season. After she began to eat on her own, her health improved enough to be moved from ICU to her own room in the hospital. There, her care team was able to introduce her to enriching sights, scents, smells, and elements to aid in both her physical and mental rehabilitation. Eventually, she graduated from intensive care treatments to strength conditioning.

Three weeks later, Hazel was brought to Oakland Zoo's Veterinary Hospital in similar condition. Like Holly, Hazel was spotted in the Santa Cruz area by a local resident in the city of Soquel (17 miles away from Holly's location). After it was determined there wasn't a mother nearby, CDFW brought her to Oakland Zoo for treatment and rehabilitation. She arrived estimated at 4-5 months of age, and in critically ill condition with severe emaciation, anemia, and hypoglycemia. She was given much-needed fluids and set up with a warm room in the ICU. Unlike Holly, Hazel remained anemic and weak, even after eating and gaining weight, so the veterinary team decided to perform a donor blood transfusion with one of our resident adult mountain lions, Silverado. This was the second time a blood transfusion from Silverado saved the life of a wild mountain lion cub. We are happy to report the procedure was a success! Hazel's red blood cell levels jumped from 17% to 29% and she exhibited considerably more energy.

Hazel continued to improve and was moved out of ICU to her very own room adjacent to Holly, where her care team could focus on strength conditioning and prepare for eventual introductions.

In early February of 2023, Holly and Hazel's care team started visual introductions. After observing the two rescued cubs getting along, our mountain lion rescue team fully introduced the two female cubs. The two quickly grew fond of each other!

Holly and Hazel cuddling overnight
Holly and Hazel embracing during one of their first nights together after introductions.

We are very happy the two cubs will be able to stay together as a pair.

Before they moved to their new home, we helped advance their social development by temporarily moving them adjacent to our resident adult mountain lions at California Trail. This gavethem the opportunity to interact with our two resident mountain lions through a shared fence line, which increased their cognitive ability, helped them become accustomed to a non-hospital setting, and offered an easier transition to their future home.

On May 3, 2023, Holly and Hazel left Oakland Zoo for their CDFW-chosen forever home, Big Bear Alpine Zoo in Southern California.

We are committed to Taking Action for Wildlife so that mountain lions and humans can live in better harmony, and to providing care to Holly and Hazel and other animals caught in the middle of human-wildlife conflict.