Orphaned Cougar Cubs Find New Homes

Three baby cougars who were found on their own in southwest Oregon are beginning their lives in two new homes.

The sisters arrived at the Oregon Zoo at the end of October, when they were about 7 weeks old. They had a brief stay there before moving to permanent zoo homes.

The girls were "incredibly cute, but definitely not cuddly,” said Oregon Zoo keeper Michelle Schireman, who also serves as the cougar species coordinator for the Association of Zoos and Aquariums.

"They are tiny and feisty…They're only 8 pounds right now — about the size of small housecats — but with feet the size of hockey pucks,” she said in November. “They still have blue eyes and fuzzy spotted coats, which they will eventually grow out of."

Schireman placed two of the cubs at the Lee Richardson Zoo in Kansas, which is home to a 12-year-old male cougar named Payton. The girls will live in an enclosure that’s adjacent to his.

The third cub headed to the New York State Zoo at Thompson Park. There, she’ll take up residence with a 2-year-old male named Ninja.

"He's been waiting for a buddy to get pouncy with," Schireman said.

Cougars, which are also known as mountain lions and pumas, live mostly in the Western U.S. and Canada, although the Florida panther is also the same species.

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