Lions Tigers & Bears, San Diego’s only accredited big cat and bear sanctuary, completed a lifesaving animal rescue mission this weekend, taking in a 3-year-old cougar with disabilities due to a car collision in 2020.
The cougar comes from a recently shuttered feline center filing for bankruptcy in northern California. It was the only cat left on-site, and despite snowstorms and road closures, Lions Tigers & Bears rescued “Nicholas” over the weekend, just in time for the property’s Saturday closure.
On Christmas night in 2020, cub Nicholas was struck by a car when crossing a toll road with his mother in Orange County. His mother died at the scene and is one of the 70 mountain lions on average killed by car collisions on California state highways, according to the UC Davis Road Ecology Center. This stat doesn’t count other roadways and those injured, but not killed.
Nicholas was severely injured and treated for pelvic fractures and blunt-force head trauma at a local animal hospital. He spent three months undergoing reconstructive surgeries and an intensive recovery process. Nicholas fought for a sound recovery, but a release back into the wild would be impossible due to his special medical needs.
“Nicholas has a head tilt and neurological issues, both conditions require ongoing veterinary care,” said Lions Tigers & Bears Founder and Director Bobbi Brink. “We’ve had a few animals with these issues, so our veterinary team is well-versed in providing the specialized care required for Nicholas, and we’re relieved to give him a permanent home with a den, a healthy diet, medical care and enrichment, and toys.”
Nicholas will be under mandatory quarantine for a minimum of 30 days and will be treated by the Lions Tigers & Bears veterinary team before being moved to a permanent habitat.
For more information, visit lionstigersandbears.org.