Two orphaned mountain lion kittens found near Hailey and one kitten found near Murtagh have been transported to zoos in California and Texas after capture by Fish and Game staff.
All three kittens were monitored prior to capture to ensure their mother was not in the area, a press release from Fish and Game stated. Once captured, the kittens were evaluated by a Fish and Game wildlife veterinarian and found to be healthy.
“The kittens were held and cared for while attempts were made to locate a suitable facility that could take them long-term, since release back into the wild was not an option,” the release said.
Two 18-pound sibling kittens between three and four months old were trapped north of Hailey after wandering a neighborhood for several days without an adult female present, Fish and Game said. The kittens have since been placed in a San Diego zoo.
The third kitten—placed in a zoo in El Paso—was found in an alfalfa field south of Murtagh after being treed by a neighborhood dog and separated from its mother.
“The decision to trap these young mountain lions was necessary because they were too young to forage and live on their own without a female lion. Mountain lion kittens typically stay with the female for 12 to 18 months,” Regional Wildlife Biologist Sierra Robatcek said. “It is extremely difficult to find facilities that will accept wildlife…[T]he department was very pleased that these two facilities were able to accept the kittens.”
Residents are still urged to report any concerning mountain lion sightings or encounters to the Magic Valley Regional Office at (208) 324-4359.