A Couple of Cougars Hang Out at Nashville Zoo Looking for Younger Men

Thu, 4/19/2012 - 5:54 AM

By Jim Bartoo

Nashville, TN - Two new cougars are now on exhibit at Nashville Zoo. The 7-month old juveniles were part of a trio of cubs rescued in Washington State after being orphaned in the wild. The Zoo plans to alternate the juveniles onto exhibit with the Zoo’s existing cougar Jackson, who will be easing into retirement. Current plans are to have the two young males available for public viewing in the afternoons beginning at approximately 1:30.

“The cubs are beautiful,” said Connie Philipp, director of animal collections at Nashville Zoo. “They were very nervous when they first arrived, but the keepers have quickly developed positive relationships with them. They are very much attached to each other as you would expect.”

The cubs were discovered last November near Shelton, Washington, after their mother was illegally shot. State wildlife officials worked with the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) population manager for cougars to find the cubs new homes. The first two cubs formed a strong bond, so they moved together to Nashville Zoo. The third was paired with a female cub at Houston Zoo.

“If they had been left in the wild, these cubs would have died without protection from their mother, said Philipp. “AZA works with local groups to place exotic and wild animals that are in need of homes. We had been placed on a waiting list for cougars because we knew we would have to find new animals for our exhibit as our current cougar was getting older. We also have the expertise to take on this kind of animal care.”

Cougars, also known as mountain lions, pumas or panthers, live mostly in the western United States and Canada. They are the largest of the small cat species, weighing 75 to 250 pounds and 3.5 to 6.5 feet long, with a tail that is one third of their total body length. With the exception of the Florida panthers, cougars are not listed as endangered but do face many challenges in other parts of the country due to human encroachment and habitat destruction.

Nashville Zoo is accredited by the prestigious Association of Zoos and Aquariums, assuring the highest standards of animal care and husbandry. Attracting more than 640,000 visitors annually, the Zoo is considered one of the top things to do in Nashville. The Zoo is a non-profit organization located at 3777 Nolensville Pike and is open every day except Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s Day. The mission of Nashville Zoo is to inspire a culture of understanding and discovery of our natural world through conservation, innovation and leadership. For more information about Nashville Zoo, call 615-833-1534 or visit www.nashvillezoo.org.

To view Nashville Zoo's web page on Zoo and Aquarium Visitor, go to:  http://www.zandavisitor.com/forumtopicdetail-110-Nashville_Zoo

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