Mountain Lion Update
Tulsa, OK – TULSA, OK, May 2, 2011 - The mountain lion recently found in a tree in a north Tulsa
residential area was examined today by Tulsa Zoo veterinarian staff.
The female mountain lion has been housed at the Tulsa Zoo since she was captured
April 23 and has been under close observation by the veterinary staff.
"Throughout the week, she continues to show signs of being very stressed," said Dr.
Kay Backues, Senior Veterinarian at the Tulsa Zoo, "her appetite has not been normal
and she is very wary of humans, despite efforts to calm her."
The vet staff determined it was time to examine her not only for health-related issues;
but also to find any tags, microchips or tattoos that would indicate her origin. No
identification was found.
However, the physical examination and laboratory tests did reveal a parasitic
infestation, with roundworms and hookworms. These parasites may have contributed
to mild anemia, an ailment that was also discovered during the exam. The mountain
lion is being treated for the parasites and was given vitamins, antibotics and fluids to
aid her appetite and anemia.
"She is a moderately thin animal with a heavy parasitic load," says Dr. Backues, "at
this time I consider her to be in poor condition, but with treatment, there is no
indication that she won't respond well."
A small broken bone in the cat's right front paw was also found, but was determined
to be an old injury that had healed. The mountain lion is approximately 78 pounds
and is a young adult, approximately 1 to 2 years old.
A DNA sample was taken to assist in determining the origin of animal. If it is indeed a
captive animal based on the information from the exam or the DNA test then,
ODWC will work with Tulsa Zoo to determine the best location for it.
The mountain lion will remain under close observation by Tulsa Zoo Veterinary staff
until arrangements can be made to find the mountain lion a home at another
accredited zoo or wildlife sanctuary.
The nearest wild population sources of mountain lions are; west Texas, NE New
Mexico, or the Black Hills of South Dakota. Females typically have a home range of
25 to 50 square miles, while males may range 75 to 200 square miles depending
upon prey density. Young males have been known to range much further in search
of new territory but there is currently no documentation of female mountain lions
extending their ranges so far.