The Greater Vancouver Zoo says they are more than happy to do anything they can to help an orphaned animal after the BC Conservation Officer Service confirmed that a cougar kitten from the Williams Lake area has a new home.
“We have exhibited cougars in the past,” says Menita Prasad, Greater Vancouver Zoo spokesperson and animal care manager
“We have not exhibited them since 2016 so it has been a couple of years since we’ve had cougars, but we do have several large cats.”
The 2-month-old cougar kitten was live trapped in a subdivision west of Williams Lake last weekend after it had been fending for itself for almost a month after its’ mother is believed to have been struck and killed by a vehicle.
Prasad says before being transferred to their facility the kitten will be transported to the zoo’s veterinarian for a physical checkup and any necessary vaccinations.
“That remains to be seen,” Prasad says in terms of if the kitten will be permanently homed at the Zoo.
“We’ll have to evaluate our animal collection and the health of the animal before we do make a decision whether or not we do put it on display. We will quarantine the animal for a 30 day period just to make sure that it is in good health, eating, and adjust to captivity well. As you can imagine it’s quite a shift from being out in the wild.”
The Zoo according to Prasad has very large natural enclosures with lots of open space, tall grasses, trees, and a large barn as well.
“The whole focus of our organization is to encourage natural behaviors,” she says.
“We do a lot of enrichment activities as well that stimulate their different senses and basically we work with them on a day to day basis to ensure that they receive everything for their mental well-being.”
Although the Zoo did receive an orphaned cougar kitten in April of 2017, Prasad says she, unfortunately, had previous injuries that resulted in infection and the decline of her health.
BC COS said because there are no rehabilitation facilities for wild cats in North America and the kitten is too young for release back into the wild, the zoo was the best option for its chance of survival.