Towards the end of 2022, three unrelated mountain lion cubs were found at different times and locations in the Santa Cruz Mountains. After assessing the situation, staff from the California Department of Fish and Wildlife decided to transport each of the cubs to the Oakland Zoo where they could be stabilized and returned to health. In their estimation, the cubs appeared to be in poor condition, and it was improbable that their mothers were going to return for them. In one case described in the attached article, the mother did return and was reunited with her cub. 

Community members fell on both sides of the debate of whether or not to rescue the cubs or leave them alone in anticipation that the mothers would return to fetch them. An article from Bay Nature magazine, Why State Wildlife Officials Took a Mountain Lion Cub From the Wild … Then Put It Back (by Kimberly Hickok March 29, 2023), describes the difficult decisions that need to be made in these situations. 

Photo credit: The mountain lion cub spent two nights at the Oakland Zoo. He wasn’t as sick as most of the cubs brought in, and was deemed well enough to be released after the mom was sighted. (Photo courtesy of the Oakland Zoo)