PHOENIX — The Arizona Game and Fish Department (AZGFD) is caring for an eight-week-old mountain lion cub found in the Cornville area.
The cub was spotted by Cornville residents and reported to AZGFD on three separate occasions. Each time, the reporting residents did the right thing, leaving the animal alone, because the mother of a young animal is typically nearby. In this case, the mother never returned after two weeks and AZGFD biologists determined that in this situation, it was best to intervene.
The female cub was picked up from a nearby licensed wildlife rehabilitator and transferred to AZGFD Nov. 3. To determine the overall health and condition of the cub, it was given a full examination by veterinarians at the Arizona Exotic Animal Hospital. The veterinarians found the cub to be in poor-to-fair health.
“Mountain lions are truly resilient animals, but this one likely would not have made it without human intervention and specialized care at the Wildlife Center,” said Mike Demlong, AZGFD Wildlife Education program manager. “When we received the cub, it was lethargic, severely dehydrated and emaciated. She needed help immediately. We’re currently doing everything possible to improve the health of this cub and give her the strongest chance for survival.”
Providing a fighting chance for wildlife needing a helping hand isn’t anything new for the AZGFD Wildlife Center, but such a rescue can often be costly.
To provide better care for sick, injured, orphaned and confiscated wildlife, AZGFD is planning to build a new wildlife center at the department’s headquarters in north Phoenix. With limited funding available for the project, the department is seeking the public’s help.
The public can donate to AZGFD’s ongoing “Be a Hero for Wildlife” donation campaign and assist many different species of wildlife in need by texting CRITTER to 41444 from any smartphone or visit www.azgfd.gov/WildlifeCenter.
“Helping injured wildlife — and especially baby wildlife — is the best part of my job,” said Demlong. “In regards to this mountain lion cub, I know I’ve made a difference. It’s rewarding knowing that we’ve taken an animal that was nearly dead and with time, good nutrition and care we’re able to turn it into a rambunctious, playful mountain lion cub.”
The cub will remain with AZGFD until a permanent wildlife sanctuary, wildlife park or zoo can be found to give it a forever home. Unfortunately, because it was orphaned it cannot be returned to the wild. Mountain lion cubs spend a year or more with their mom learning critical survival skills. This cub will not have that opportunity.
In addition to donations, the public can also help keep wildlife wild by leaving baby wildlife alone. The situation with this cub is an exception, but in general baby wildlife is rarely orphaned or abandoned. One or both of its parents is likely nearby searching for food and will return.
More information on Arizona’s diverse wildlife or the Wildlife Center is available at www.azgfd.gov.