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Eight-month-old cougar cubs True and Zia relax in their den at the Wildlife West Nature Park in Edgewood. Game and Fish determined that the young cougars could not be released into the wild because they would stand no chance of survival without parental care. But hunting is a talent learned from their mothers.”Grant said the Wildlife Center recommended the Turpentine Creek Wildlife Refuge, a 459-acre compound in Eureka Springs, Ark., as the most suitable place to send the cubs.
The cubs were found without their mother near Wagon Mound in late December. “Cougars learn how to hunt from their mothers when they are 18 to 24 months old,” Wildlife West’s Alink said. Turpentine Creek specializes in big cats – lions, tigers, leopards and cougars.
Koshari, the black bear, is now 12 or 13 and weighs 500 pounds.
He was still a cub when taken into custody at Navajo Lake in San Juan County.
The elks Chaco and Chama, although not related, were both orphaned or separated from their parents during wildfires at Los Alamos five years ago.
“They were skinny, but they were not burned and they had not been weaned,” Alink said.
True and Zia were not looking especially curious on this morning, preferring to lie peacefully in their small den.
Kerrin Grant, wildlife care director at the Wildlife Center, said the cub that had been caught in the trap was treated for a broken foot.
The Department of Game and Fish statement reported that the cubs’ mother could not be found, and the young cougars, then about 3 months old, were taken to the New Mexico Wildlife Center in Española to be cared for.
Festus, the turkey vulture, took it easy on a perch in his enclosure, and curled up in the shadows of an artificial den were True and Zia, 8-month-old mountain lion cubs from Wagon Mound.
On this morning, Koshari, a black bear, was soaking in a big tub of water; a pair of elk – the bull Chaco and the cow Chama – were squeezed into the shade of juniper trees, as was Velcro, a 5-year-old mule deer doe.