OAKLAND (KPIX) – The Oakland Zoo is nursing three mountain lion kittens back to health, after they were rescued from the Zogg Fire in Shasta County. The kittens are getting incredible medical care, but they are just a small percentage of animals killed, displaced or injured during the worst fire season in California.
While human lives have been lost and homes have been burned, at the Oakland Zoo they have seen firsthand the devastation the fire has caused to wildlife. According to the head veterinarian, we’re just seeing the tip of the problem.
The latest delivery to the Oakland Zoo brought is two 6-week-old sisters rescued from the Zogg Fire. The somewhat ferocious sounding kittens lost their mother in the blaze but are in fairly good health unlike Captain Cal, a four pound cub that suffered burns on his paws.
“He looked alert, feisty and snarled at me so it made me think he was ok,” said Pete Figura from the California Department of Fish and Wildlife.
Captain Cal required three surgeries to remove the dead tissue on his paws and developed an infection. Doctors have seen a huge improvement in his health the last couple of days.
“We put him on multiple different antibiotics based on culture and really turned a corner this weekend so the infection seems like it’s cleared,” said Dr. Alex Herman, Vice President of Veterinary Services at the Oakland Zoo.
As doctors nurture the mountain lions back to health, they know, Captain Cal is just one of many that need care. Dr. Herman added, “I think he’s a small fascinating beautiful face on a huge problem we’re facing.”
Dr. Herman said there is no doubt the effect climate change is having on wildlife and human life. As fires burn acres of their habitat, she believes interactions with people will increase as the animals that have survived face starvation this coming winter.
“It’s a huge problem based on climate change and drought in the state of California and I think we’re just seeing the start of it,” said Dr. Herman.