Mountain Lion Treated for Burns in Thomas Fire Integrates Into New Home at Sonoma County Rescue Facility

Charlie, the mountain lion burned in the Thomas Fire, has been transferred to a wildlife rescue facility where he will live in captivity, officials announced on Facebook Friday.

The mountain lion, now six months old, arrived at the Sonoma County Wildlife Rescue last week after undergoing treatment for burns with sterilized tilapia fish skin at the California Department of Fish and Wildlife lab in Rancho Cordova.

Experts said fish skin can serve as bandage while providing collagen to accelerate healing.

He will serve as an animal ambassador for his species at his new home at the rescue facility in Petaluma, according to the California Department of Fish and Wildlife.

Officials said they decided to keep Charlie in captivity because they were concerned the mountain lion would not be able to find food and had already become too comfortable in captivity.

Charlie will live alongside a 2-year-old female mountain lion named Nicole until they are comfortable enough with each other to occupy the same enclosure, according to the department.

“We’re just really excited to be able to receive Charlie as a new member of our wildlife family and I really think that Nicole’s gonna be opening up her heart to him,” said Doris Ward, director of the Sonoma County Wildlife Rescue.

Officials rescued the mountain lion in Santa Paula on Dec. 22, 2017 after he suffered burns in the Thomas Fire, the largest California fire on record. He would have died as an orphan cub if he was found even a day later, authorities said.