December 2015 – ORPHANED COUGAR CUBS FIND FUR-EVER HOMES AT COHANZICK ZOO!
Thanks to the concerted efforts of officials from Oregon Zoo, Oregon Fish & Wildlife, Washington State Fish & Wildlife and the Cohanzick Zoological Society, two orphaned cougar cubs (dubbed Buttercup & Inigo) have found a new home right here at our Cohanzick Zoo in Bridgeton, New Jersey.
The cubs, a male (approximately 12 wks old) and a female (approximately 10 wks old) were initially being cared for by a Washington State Fish & Wildlife Officer and staff members at the Oregon Zoo while they desperately searched for a zoo that had the space and expertise to care for large cats.
After a month long quarantine (necessary to access & monitor the health of our new little ones), they are finally out and about in their habitat and accepting visitors!
Buttercup & Inigo are growing up fast…so be sure to visit soon! We’ll be hosting a Keeper Chat 2pm every day at the cougar/puma habitat!
Pumas, Panthers, or Cougars…
Puma concolor is the scientific name of this big cat which roughly translates to “powerful cat of one color”. But because of their extensive range throughout the Americas, they’re known by more than 80 names; puma, cougar, mountain lion, catamount, panther, painter, and screamer, just to name a few.
- Pumas are the second largest cat in the Americas. (jaguars are the largest)
- They are the fourth largest cat worldwide. (after tigers, lions, and jaguars)
- Pumas are the largest of the “small cats”. Wait. What? Ok, there a few reasons why pumas are not considered “big cats”, one of which is the puma lacks the structure of the larynx and the incomplete ossification of the hyoid bone that would enable the puma to roar. That’s right. Pumas can’t roar.
- Vocalizations include purrs, chirps (typically cubs & juveniles), whistles, and yowls.
- Adult males can weigh between 115-220 lbs. (average: 137lbs.) Adult females weigh between 64-141 lbs. (average: 93lbs.)
- The average life expectancy of pumas in the wild is 10-12 years. In zoos, they can live up to 20 years.
The World Conservation Union (IUCN) currently lists pumas as “least concern”, but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t be concerned about pumas. Historically, the puma’s range included much of eastern North America. (That’s right. Once upon a time, wild pumas prowled right here on the very spot our little zoo now occupies.) Early colonizers prolifically hunted and killed the big cats which were deemed threats to their families and livestock. The near annihilation of their primary prey, the white-tailed deer, in the early 1800’s contributed to their steep decline on the east coast as well.
The Eastern Cougar was listed as endangered in 1973, though the last officially confirmed eastern cougar was trapped and killed in Maine in 1938. In March of 2011, the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service declared the eastern cougar extinct. The Florida Panther, the only cougar sub-species that still exists on the east coast, is listed as critically endangered.
Puma populations are still widespread in western U.S. and Central & South America, however studies indicate that in some areas they are in a declining trend. Conservation threats include persecution as a pest animal, environmental degradation, habitat fragmentation, and depletion of prey base.