A pair of young mountain lions are joining the squad at The Living Desert — including one who made headlines when he entered a school in Northern California earlier this summer.
The two mountain lions — Rose and Sage — are coming from the Oakland Zoo, and will arrive in Palm Desert later this week, according to a social media post from The Living Desert on Tuesday.
“Rescued separately as unrelated, orphaned cubs, Rose and Sage have earned a place in the hearts of many as the animal care and veterinary team at the Oakland Zoo have heroically cared for these mountain lions over the last five months,” the post states.
Sage already had at least 15 minutes of fame. In June, a custodian at Pescadero High School in Northern California found and confined the mountain lion in an empty classroom.
A San Mateo County sheriff’s detective said at the time that Sage, estimated to be about 40 pounds, appeared “lost and scared.”
Sage was taken from there to the Oakland Zoo, where he was rehabilitated. The mountain lion is now healthy, with an estimated age of 9 to 11 months.
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Rose, the other mountain lion coming to The Living Desert, was initially spotted by hikers in San Mateo and retrieved by officials from the California Department of Fish and Wildlife.
“Orphaned, emaciated, and malnourished, she was brought to the Oakland Zoo in April 2022 where she received critical veterinary care,” The Living Desert said in its post. “Today, she is a healthy mountain lion cub estimated to be about 9 to 10 months old.”
During their rehabilitation at the Oakland Zoo, Rose and Sage were matched as a companion (non-breeding) pair — and they will remain together after their arrival at The Living Desert, according to the zoo’s social media post.
“As they get accustomed to their new surroundings and build a relationship with their animal care team, they’ll spend time in a behind-the-scenes area of the zoo,” the zoo said. “Once they are comfortable, Rose and Sage will be introduced into the mountain lion habitat in Eagle Canyon. Stay tuned for more on that!”
It’s unclear precisely when Rose and Sage will be out in the habitat, but Erin Scott, a spokesperson for The Living Desert, estimated it will be about a week after their arrival.
Sage and Rose’s arrival will mark the second noteworthy new couple at The Living Desert in as many years. Last fall, the zoo welcomed Jaali and Nia — two African black rhinos — as the stars of its new $17 million Rhino Savannah.
The Living Desert’s carousel and hiking trails are also set to reopen Oct. 1 when fall operating hours resume.
Tom Coulter covers the cities of Palm Desert, La Quinta, Rancho Mirage and Indian Wells. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @tomcoulter_.