A mountain lion cub who was left an orphan three years ago after its mother was hit and killed by a car in Orange County has a new home in San Diego County.
Lions Tigers & Bears in Alpine rescued the young mountain lion after its former home at a feline center in Northern California filed for bankruptcy.
The three-year-old male cougar named Nicholas was the last animal at the property and was taken in by the San Diego-based sanctuary just hours before the facility closed for good.
Nicholas was orphaned by a car crash on Dec. 25, 2020. Only a cub, Nicholas and his mother were hit by a car while crossing an Orange County toll road. Nicholas survived, but his mother did not.
Although he managed to walk away from the collision, the crash left the young cougar cub with severe medical disabilities which required months of surgeries and regular care. He was taken to the Northern California feline center after it was determined he could not survive in the wild.
“Nicholas has a head tilt and neurological issues, both conditions require ongoing veterinary care,” said Lions Tigers & Bears Founder and Director Bobbi Brink. “We’ve had a few animals with these issues, so our veterinary team is well-versed in providing the specialized care required for Nicholas, and we’re relieved to give him a permanent home with a den, a healthy diet, medical care and enrichment and toys.”
The big cat is currently under a mandatory quarantine and will remain under observation for at least 30 days. Once he’s been cleared from quarantine and receives all his required medical care, he’ll be moved to a permanent habitat.
The nonprofit organization is a “no contact, no kill, no breed, no sell” facility that sits on 93 acres of land in Alpine, about 40 miles east of San Diego. The organization has rescued hundreds of animals, including many from the exotic animal trade, which it actively advocates against.
It’s estimated that at least 70 mountain lions are hit by cars on California highways each year, according to a study from UC Davis. Researchers believe that the collisions are underreported along other California roadways, and the local cougar population is being adversely affected by the amount of cats killed by cars, warning that collisions may one day be responsible for the extinction of the species.