These cougar cubs, all siblings, all female, were orphaned in Oregon and were cared for at the Oregon Zoo's veterinary department until they could be found homes at other facilities.

I wrote about Cougars on a recent Caturday, which you can read here.

ZOMG BABY COUGARS!!! And A Little About the AZA

ZOMG BABY COUGARS!!! And A Little About the AZA

ZOMG BABY COUGARS!!! And A Little About the AZA

ZOMG BABY COUGARS!!! And A Little About the AZA

The Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) is a nonprofit organization that was founded in 1924, known at that time as the American Association of Zoological Parks and Aquariums. Since that time it has expanded into a global Association, and is active in conservation, education, recreation and science efforts related to public zoos and aquariums. It focuses on accrediting these institutions in standards of animal care and initiatives (which are higher than the standards required by law, which vary depending on location), and education/conservation programs. It engages in political lobbying and collaborative research.

The AZA facilitates Population Management Plans and Species Survival Plans, which are intended to sustainably manage a variety of captive animal species. It also tracks research and conservation projects worldwide through its Annual Report on Conservation and Science.

Here is where you can find a list of zoos and aquariums that are AZA accredited. To be accredited, an institution must meet the following definition and apply for accreditation with the AZA:

A permanent cultural institution which owns and maintains captive wild animals that represent more than a token collection and, under the direction of a professional staff, provides its collection with appropriate care and exhibits them in an aesthetic manner to the public on a regularly scheduled basis. They shall further be defined as having as their primary business the exhibition, conservation and preservation of the earth's fauna in an educational and scientific manner.

I mention this information because one of the comments on the ZooBorns post is asking why the cubs are being split up and sent to different institutions. In the wild, these cubs would stay with their mother until they were old enough for their spots to fade - about two years. During that time, their mother would teach them to develop vital survival skills that would help them live as Cougars. There is no way for these cubs to learn these skills without their mother, which is why they will be staying in captivity. As to why they're being split up, Cougars are not social animals. After they leave their mother, they go in search of their own territory and only tolerate the presence of other Cougars for the purposes of mating. Also, in the wild it is very likely that only one or two of these cubs would survive long enough to lose their spots. The cubs will go to different institutions that have excellent track records in Cougar care, and have spaces prepared for them.