Two orphaned puma cubs have been relocated from California to the Como Zoo in St. Paul.
The male and female pumas, who are not siblings, arrived Tuesday from the Oakland Zoo, a spokesman for the Como Zoo said Thursday.
Como zookeepers and University of Minnesota veterinary staff are monitoring and tending to the cubs, which are roughly 8 to 12 weeks old.
Before the cubs can make their public debut, they will go through the standard 30-day quarantine period to prevent spreading disease, parasites or illness to other animals.
“Although it is heartbreaking circumstances that brought us these beautiful cats, we are happy to be able to provide a home, the care and support that these animals will need to thrive as individuals and as a species,” Michelle Furrer, director of Como Park Zoo & Conservatory, said in a statement announcing the new arrivals.
The male puma was orphaned after its mother, which was reportedly killing sheep, was shot and killed in far northeastern California under a legal depredation permit.
The female was discovered north of the Bay Area in Lake County after a property owner heard “chirps” from what he believed to be a bird over a seven-day stretch. Puma cubs make a high-pitched chirping sound when calling for their mother.
The property owner reported the cub to the California Department of Fish and Wildlife. The cub was severely dehydrated, emaciated, covered in parasites and burrs.
“While we don’t know for sure what caused this female cub to become orphaned, we do know that one of the biggest threats to mountain lions in California is traffic, with 107 animals killed by automobiles in 2016 alone,” said Amy Gotliffe, director of conservation at Oakland Zoo.
Nicole Carion, California Department of Fish and Wildlife’s rehabilitation coordinator, said that “returning injured or orphaned wildlife to the wild is always the ideal outcome, but in situations like this — where an animal is too young to have the necessary survival skills — placing it back in the wild would be a death sentence.”
Como Friends Board leadership named the cubs and chose Ruby for the female and Jasper for the male.