Rose and Sage Arrive at The Living Desert Zoo

Rescued and cared for by the Oakland Zoo, the mountain lion couple Rose and Sage have arrived at their furry home.

PALM DESERT/INDIAN WELLS – Rose and Sage, the rescued mountain lions from Oakland Zoo, have arrived safely in The Living Desert. The young mountain lions made their way from Oakland to Palm Desert on Thursday, September 22 and are now settling into their furry home.

Rose and Sage arrive at the Living Desert Zoo

Rose and Sage at the Oakland Zoo.

“Rose and Sage’s journey to Southern California went smoothly and they are now adjusting to their new surroundings. Both cats were quiet throughout the evening and through our camera surveillance we observed expected behaviors including drinking, grooming, exploring, playing and sleeping,” noted Heather Down, Animal Care Curator of The Living Desert. “Rose and Sage will be staying behind the scenes for about a week while they adjust to their new surroundings and the animal care team bond with them.”

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Rose was discovered by hikers at Thornewood Open Space Preserve in San Mateo. Orphaned, emaciated and malnourished, she was brought to the Oakland Zoo in April 2022 where she received intensive veterinary care. Today she is a healthy mountain lion cub estimated to be 9 to 10 months old. Sage was discovered in a classroom at Pescadero High School in Northern California in June 2022. He was brought to the Oakland Zoo, orphaned and malnourished, and is now a healthy mountain lion, 9 to 11 months old.

As young orphaned boys, Rose and Sage had yet to learn the skills necessary to thrive independently, so they could not be released back into the wild. Mountain lion cubs stay with their mothers for up to two years, learning how to hunt and survive.

Today, thanks to the incredible dedication of the Oakland Zoo, Rose and Sage are thriving young mountain lions. To prepare for their California road trip down south, the Oakland Zoo team worked to develop their social skills and improve their ability to travel safely and calmly in their shipping crates through positive training experiences.

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“We are very pleased to welcome Rose and Sage to The Living Desert,” RoxAnna Breitigan, director of animal care at The Living Desert, said in a statement. “These cats have such an amazing story and we are honored to be a part of their next chapter. We are so proud of our colleagues at the Oakland Zoo for the exemplary care and dedication to the welfare of these amazing animals.”

The Living Desert is also home to a mountain lion named Salem. At over 18 years old, Salem is one of the oldest mountain lions in human care with animal care and veterinary teams dedicated to their welfare and health at every stage of their lives. The current care plan does not call for introducing rose and sage with Salem. Rose and Sage are a young, wild couple with a different energy level and grooming needs than Salem, so they are kept separately. Once the couple has been introduced to mountain lion habitat, guests will see either Salem or Rose and Sage.

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Mountain lions are native to America. Also known as cougars, panthers, or cougars, mountain lions live in a variety of habitats, including forests, grasslands, and deserts. Native mountain lion populations are threatened by habitat loss and fragmentation, urban sprawl, and human-wildlife conflict. The Living Desert is committed to sharing the importance of human-animal coexistence.

Follow Rose and Sage’s journey on The Living Desert’s Instagram.

image sources

  • Rose and Sage at the Oakland Zoo.: Oakland Zoo
  • Rose-and-Sage-settled-in-The-Living-Desert_9.23.22_Photo-Credit-The-Living-Desert-1: The Living Desert

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