Last Surviving Mountain Lion Cub from Litter of Three Rehabilitating at Oakland Zoo’s Veterinary Hospital

Oakland Zoo
December 9, 2019
Mountain lion cub rescue who is currently in rehabilitation at the Oakland Zoo Veterinary Hospital.
Dr. Alex Herman, Director of Veterinary Services at Oakland Zoo, performing a routine procedure on an orphaned mountain lion cub. Photo credit: Steven Gotz

Oakland, CA – December 9, 2019… On November 24, a homeowner near Somerset in El Dorado County heard crying and discovered a den with three mountain lions, only two of which were still alive. Reporting the cubs to Sierra Wildlife Rescue, the cubs were then retrieved by the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW). After initial treatments were provided by CDFW, the cubs (a male and female) were brought to Oakland Zoo Veterinary Hospital (OZVH) for more intensive care on November 26.

Upon arrival at Oakland Zoo, the cubs were suffering from severe malnutrition and dehydration; despite treatments and efforts by OZVH staff and CDFW, the female passed away hours later on November 27 due to the severity of her condition.

The cubs are estimated to be 4 to 6 weeks old and weighed less than 4 pounds when discovered. They were heavily infested with fleas and ticks, suffering from multiple parasites, severely anemic, dehydrated, and malnourished. 

Dr. Alex Herman, Director of OZVH, reports the surviving male cub is growing stronger every day. He has responded well to treatment, eating well and has gained 3 pounds since his arrival 12 days ago. When he can eat solid foods and has fully recuperated, he will be transferred to his forever home at El Paso Zoo, a fellow AZA-accredited Zoo (Association of Zoos and Aquariums).

“The little male is thriving. His low red blood cell count is resolving, his appetite is great, he’s gaining weight, and getting feistier every day. We’ve already found him a forever home at El Paso Zoo, they’re rooting for his recovery and checking up on him regularly,” said Dr. Alex Herman, Director of Oakland Zoo’s Veterinary Hospital.

This rescue marks the 10th mountain lion rescue for Oakland Zoo through the partnership with CDFW. 

“Oakland Zoo is a valued partner in our efforts to care for orphaned and displaced California wildlife. We thank the Zoo, its veterinarians and staff for providing the intensive treatment these orphaned cubs needed”, said Dr. Deana Clifford, a Senior Wildlife Veterinarian at California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW).


Mountain lions are facing numerous threats in California; often struck by cars, killed with depredation permits, and illegal poaching. These factors culminate in the human-wildlife conflict, putting them at odds with humans in encroaching urban areas and developments. Oakland Zoo partners with conservation organizations like the Mountain Lion Foundation and the Bay Area Puma Project to educate the public on the issue and help conserve the species in the wild.


Oakland Zoo helped found BACAT (Bay Area Cougar Action Team) in 2013, an alliance with the Bay Area Puma Project and the Mountain Lion Foundation, to help support the C DFW to save mountain lions caught in the human-wildlife conflict.



Isabella Linares

Oakland Zoo

Office:510-632-9525 ext. 239

Cell: 650– 776 -9589


Erin Harrison

Oakland Zoo

Office:510-632-9525 ext. 120






Oakland Zoo, home to more than 850+ native and exotic animals, is managed by the Conservation Society of California (CSC); a non-profit organization leading an informed and inspired community to take action for wildlife locally and globally. With over 25 conservation partners and projects worldwide, the CSC is committed to conservation-based education and saving species and their habitats in the wild. Oakland Zoo is dedicated to the humane treatment of animals and is accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA), the national organization that sets the highest standards for animal welfare for zoos and aquariums.