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Mountain lion cub hit by vehicle recovering at Ramona Wildlife Center

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Posted at 11:05 AM, Feb 14, 2024

RAMONA, Calif. (CNS) - A young male mountain lion struck by a vehicle the night before Thanksgiving is on the mend at San Diego Humane Society's Ramona Wildlife Center, officials announced Wednesday.

The 5-month-old cub was found on the side of a road in Simi Valley, where local animal services alerted the California Department of Fish and Wildlife, who transported the cub to Santa Clarita where veterinarians provided initial medical support overnight.

According to the SDHS, he was then transported to the Ramona Wildlife Center for care by its Project Wildlife team early the next morning, Thanksgiving Day, Nov. 23, 2023.

X-rays taken the next day showed the mountain lion had a severely fractured hind leg. He was treated for dehydration, malnourishment and given a temporary splint to support his broken bones.

On Nov. 27, the veterinary team repaired the animal's left tibia, using a metal plate and 10 screws to realign the bones. For the next three weeks, the mountain lion was monitored via cameras in an indoor hospital enclosure, limiting human interaction and movement that could risk damage to the surgery site.

On Dec. 1, veterinarians performed a second surgery to replace the screws for shorter screws. The cub's prognosis remained guarded until his third sedated surgery recheck, on Dec. 18, when veterinarians decided he was ready to move to an outdoor enclosure for continued rehabilitation.

The Ramona Wildlife Center's outdoor enclosure is covered with vegetation, rocky outcroppings and areas for the cub to explore and regain his strength, the SDHS statement read.

"It's important he has minimal contact with the rehab specialists to ensure he does not get used to human presence," said Andy Blue, campus director at the Ramona Wildlife Center. "We monitor him with cameras daily and are pleased to see he is self-limiting his activities while healing from his injury."

During a sedated recheck on Jan. 26, wildlife veterinarians confirmed the fracture was healing well and the mountain lion was gaining weight, weighing 25.2 pounds.

In the wild, mountain lion cubs may stay with their mothers up to 26 months, but usually separate after about 15 months.

The Project Wildlife team is working under guidance from the CDFW to determine the next steps. If the mountain lion is releasable to the wild, he will be outfitted with a satellite GPS collar for tracking to help ensure his future health and wellbeing, center officials said.

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