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Malnourished mountain lion cubs found in Burbank

December 21, 2011

Animal control officers on Tuesday rescued two malnourished mountain lion cubs that were hiding under a parked car in Burbank — but not before one resident reportedly tried hitting them with a broomstick.

The cubs weigh 5 pounds each and were taken to a refuge in Calabasas, where they are expected to recover to full strength.

Burbank Police Sgt. Darin Ryburn said residents called in the cubs’ location in the 600 block of East Orange Grove Avenue at about 10:30 a.m. — they were so small they were initially reported as baby bobcats.

Some residents were using brooms to try and hit or shoo the cubs away, Ryburn said.

The cubs were taken to the Burbank Animal Shelter, where it was determined they were 10-week-old mountain lions, he added.

Officials stressed that residents should not attempt to engage wildlife, no matter how small, and instead call animal control officers.

California Department of Fish and Game officials transported the cubs to the rehabilitation center in Calabasas, where they were placed with another litter in the hopes of improving their health, Ryburn said.

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“They had not been fed for about two weeks,” said Ryburn.

Cindy Reyes, executive director of the California Wildlife Center in Calabasas, said it was unusual for mountain lion cubs to be discovered abandoned in an urban area.

“I suspect they were pretty hungry and looking for food,” Reyes said.

Animal control officers thought the mother cat may be dead, or led a male cougar away to prevent injury or death to the cubs, Ryburn said. Officials will have a better idea of what happened after they get results from a medical examination that included blood tests.

Reyes said it was difficult to say how they would do, but they seemed to be relatively stable given all the stress.

“We’re going to hope for the best right now,” she said.

-- Maria Hsin, Times Community News

Twitter: @mariahsin

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