OAKLAND (CBS SF) – A young mountain lion cub is receiving treatment at the Oakland Zoo for severe burns suffered during the deadly Zogg Fire burning in far Northern California, officials said.
On Wednesday, a firefighter with Cal Fire rescued the orphaned male cub in an area the fire burned through over the weekend in Redding. The cub arrived at the Oakland Zoo Wednesday night, following an urgent call by the California Department of Fish and Wildlife.
“We are so grateful for the Oakland Zoo’s expertise, world-class facilities and willingness to step up – on extremely short notice – to help wildlife in need,” said Dr. Deana Clifford, the Department of Fish and Wildlife’s senior wildlife veterinarian.
An examination revealed that he was badly burned, particularly his paws. The cub’s whiskers were singed off and he suffered severe irritation to his eyes. X-rays also revealed damage to his lungs from smoke inhalation and bone damage to his paws.
Zoo officials said the cub was cleaned, given antibiotics, pain medication and formula for kittens. According to zoo veterinarian Dr. Alex Herman, the cub was eating on his own and described as “acting feisty,” which are encouraging for his recovery.
On Friday, the zoo tweeted a picture of the cub, continuing to show progress. The zoo also revealed that the cub has been named “Captain Cal,” after the Cal Fire mascot.
Our vet staff is treating Captain Cal's injured feet today. He's been eating & looks much better than he did when he arrived. We'll keep you posted on how he's doing! pic.twitter.com/L4T3Xg6CdN
— Oakland Zoo (@oakzoo) October 2, 2020
“We’re cautiously optimistic that this cub will now survive and thrive, our dedicated team at Oakland Zoo is fully committed to do everything we can for him and for his beautiful species,” Herman said.
The zoo said the cub, since he is orphaned and unable to learn how to survive in the wild, will be placed in a “suitable forever home” once he is ready to leave the hospital.
According to Cal Fire, the Zogg Fire has burned 56,018 acres (87.5 square miles) west of Redding in Shasta County as of Friday morning. Four people have died.
Officials said the fire, which started early Sunday morning, is 46 percent contained. The cause of the fire is under investigation.