Permanent Home Found For Orphaned Cougars

Permanent Home Found For Orphaned Cougars
SEATTLE - Three cougar kittens that faced death after they were found alone near Duvall are headed to the Memphis zoo.

State Fish and Wildlife Department biologist Rocky Spencer said the zoo was selected after the department was swamped with calls and e-mails concerned about the kittens.

Officials had said they would be destroyed if no suitable home could be found.

The kittens, about six week old, were found August 21st in the backyard of a rural home.

"They were looking through the little slats at the dogs," said Sheilah MacDonald while pointing at the fence where the cougars were hiding. "They are just such beautiful animals."

The Fish and Wildlife Department said DNA testing concluded a female cougar that was destroyed for killing chickens was their mother.

Spencer said the kittens need more time to build up strength at an animal shelter before the move.

The kittens will continue to be cared for by PAWS, an organization that rescues and rehabilitates wild animals, in Lynnwood while details of the move are finalized.

"We appreciate the exceptional care that the cougar kittens have received at the PAWS Wildlife Center," said Fish and Wildlife Director Jeff Koenings in a news release. "The dedication that PAWS staff have shown in treating these young cats has been nothing short of tremendous."

Memphis zoo keepers will fly to Seattle in two or three weeks to pick up the cats.

Spencer said they'll enjoy a big enclosure in Memphis with trees and rocks.

"We're very excited to receive these cats and look forward to caring for them," said Memphis Zoo director Chuck Brady

Koenings said the Memphis Zoo is accredited by the American Zoo and Aquarium Association and met all the criteria the department had established before it began its national search.

"All three cats can be placed in the same facility, and they will not be moved from the zoo to other locations for educational purposes, nor will they be allowed to breed or be subjected to de-clawing or tooth removal," he said.

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