Mountain Lion Cubs Call Fort Worth Zoo Home
February 27, 2014
Brothers now on exhibit in Texas Wild!
FORT WORTH, Texas – Fort Worth Zoo officials today announced the arrival of 6-month-old male mountain lion cubs. The brothers, named Leonard and Sheldon, can be seen on exhibit in the Brush Country area of the Zoo’s Texas Wild! exhibit.
The cubs were rescued by the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) after local residents reported seeing the cubs without a mother. A CDFW biologist brought in the cubs to be fed and cared for, and then identified the Fort Worth Zoo as a fitting home for the two males.
The cubs weigh about 30 pounds and have acclimated well to their new surroundings at the Zoo. Leonard and Sheldon can be seen pouncing on one another and climbing on the trees and rocks in their exhibit area. The Zoo’s Texas Wild! exhibit features more than 300 Texas-native species from six distinct regions of the Lone Star State.
Mountain lions had all but disappeared from the Texas wilderness in the early 1900s – occasional livestock kills made them a threat to early settlers, who moved to wipe them out. But the species made a comeback in the 1970s, and more than 2,000 sightings were reported between 1983 and 1997. The Fort Worth Zoo participates in the Association of Zoos and Aquariums Mountain Lion Species Survival Plan, which manages the breeding of the species in order to maintain a healthy and self-sustaining population that is both genetically diverse and demographically stable.
With perhaps more recorded names than any other animal on the planet, the mountain lion is also known as a cougar, puma and panther, to name a few. There are nearly 40 English names for this cat species (Felis concolor); Spanish and Native American languages have even more. No matter what you call it, this species is the second largest cat living in the Americas (the jaguar is the largest); it is 3 to 6 feet long and can weigh up to 225 pounds. Mountain lions are generally a solid tawny color, with slightly darker hair on the back and a whitish underside. Cubs are born with spots, which aid in camouflage within grass, brush and dappled sunlight. The spots begin to fade after six months.
The nationally acclaimed Fort Worth Zoo has been ranked the No. 5 zoo in the nation by USA Travel Guide and the No. 1 attraction in the DFW Metroplex by Zagat survey. The Zoo is home to more than 500 animal species and a world-famous reptile collection, housed in the brand new Museum of Living Art (MOLA). The institution’s focus on education and conservation is second to none, enhancing the lives of more than 1 million visitors a year.
For further information, contact:
Alexis Wilson, Communications Director