While it may be tempting to "rescue" a mountain lion kitten that appears to have been abandoned, wildlife officials in Colorado are using a case this week to illustrate why that is a bad idea.
Officers picked up a mountain lion kitten from a private residence Tuesday, according to a news release from Colorado Parks and Wildlife officials. The kitten was found in a snowbank, according to the people who brought it inside their home. While the kitten wasn't injured, it became sick because the people who took it in fed it bratwurst, officials said.
The kitten appeared to be under 6 months of age, and likely had not been weaned yet from its mother's milk, according to the news release. The kitten was taken to Wet Mountain Wildlife Rehabilitation, where it will be cared for until it can be released back into the wild.
Wildlife officials have recommendations for those who discover wild animals that appear to be abandoned.
"If you find wildlife you believe to be orphaned, leave the area immediately and call CPW,” Travis Sauder, CPW district wildlife manager, said. “By leaving the area, mom will feel safe to come back and retrieve her young.
“Many animals intentionally leave their young behind when startled, relying on the built-in camouflage of the youngsters’ spotted fur to keep them safe. The mother will then return to retrieve its young once the area is safe.”
Animals that are orphaned require specialized care: "When we do have orphaned wildlife, it's important we get them to licensed rehabilitators who specialize in raising these wild animals, who know what to feed them and how to care for them so we can successfully release them back into the wild once they mature.”
Since the mountain lion kitten is expected to make a full recovery, wildlife officials couldn't help but have a little fun on Twitter: "Someone brings a mountain lion kitten inside and feeds it a bratwurst. That's the wurst idea, ever."