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Puma Cub Finds New Home With Help of 3 Nebraska Organizations

A male Puma cub now calls Riverside Discovery Center home.

The male Puma cub was first found by Nebraska Game & Parks abandoned in Northeast Nebraska. Trail cameras showed that the cub was underweight and had been without a mother for an extended period of time.

The cub was initially taken to Lee G. Simmons Wildlife Safari Park in Ashland, Nebraska. Veterinary staff from Omaha’s Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium examined the cub and Wildlife Safari Park staff cared for him while in quarantine until a permanent home could be located.

Also when the cub was found, the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) species coordinator for Pumas, Michelle Schireman, was notified. Schireman keeps an active list of AZA accredited facilities around the United States who have space for a Puma if one or more are taken in by wildlife services and cannot be returned to the wild. It just so happened that another AZA organization in Nebraska, Riverside Discovery Center, was next on the list when this young cub was found. He was transported to the RDC shortly after. 

Anthony Mason, Executive Director of RDC, said, “This is a wonderful example of Nebraska zoos, AZA programs, and government agencies working together to quickly provide a home for an animal that would have likely died in the wild.”

The cub is approximately 4 to 6 months old and is settling in beautifully at RDC. He is currently viewable in the Discovery building and will move to his permanent home in the RDC cat complex when he reaches an appropriate size.

According to OutdoorNebraska.gov, “Pumas (commonly called mountain lions or cougars) in Nebraska are part of the larger population that spans all Western states, and animals move freely between Nebraska and neighboring states, particularly South Dakota and Wyoming.”

Riverside Discovery Center (RDC) is a 23-acre Zoo, Splash Pad, and Museum without walls in Scottsbluff, Nebraska. The RDC is open 7 days a week, year-round. Winter hours are 9:30 a.m.- 4 p.m. RDC's general public number is 308-630-6236.

Named the “Best Safari Park” in the country for 2021 by USA TODAY 10 Best Readers’ Choice Travel Awards, the Lee G. Simmons Wildlife Safari Park offers four miles of drive-through North American wildlife viewing from the comfort of your own vehicle. By visiting, guests are not only supporting conservation efforts such as its Cheetah Breeding Center, but also efforts around the planet. More information is available at www.WildlifeSafariPark.com.

Posted by Diane Kohout at 5:15 PM