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Wild cats at the Folsom City Zoo!
Wild cats at the Folsom City Zoo include cougars (also known as mountain lions, pumas, panthers or catamounts) tigers and bobcats.

Young tigers Misty and Pouncer arrived at the Folsom City Zoo Sanctuary on February 4th, 2004. Early in 2003 authorities raided an animal "rescue facility" in southern California. They were stunned to find the bodies of several dozen big cats on the premises, and the remains of 58 tiger cubs in the freezer. Eleven tiger and leopard cubs were found hidden in an attic.

Dozens of charges were filed against facility operators, including felony animal cruelty and illegal breeding.

At the facility, Pouncer was found tethered on a 4 foot chain, and Misty was being kept in a 3-by3-foot cage. Both animals were starving and covered with mange. Because the facility had been breeding (illegally) the tigers are mixed subspecies: Misty and Pouncer are Bengal and Siberian. Like mountain lions, tigers stay with mom for survival training for nearly two years.

Transportation of the tigers to the zoo sanctuary has been funded in part by a $1,000 donation by United Animal Nations with a matching sum from The Friends of the Zoo Sanctuary derived from donations, including one from Folsom Imports.

Your generous donations have helped fund the expansion of the tiger exhibit. Thank you to everyone! Long term plans include a custom tiger exhibit so donations can still be sent to:

Tiger Fund
The Friends of the Folsom Zoo
P. O. Box 704,
Folsom, CA 95763

Experts estimate that there may be 10,000 big cats - lions, tigers, leopards and cougars - kept as pets in the U. S. Of those only 1,000 are in managed care. The rest live in backyards or in other situations that are inappropriate - and dangerous. Currently there are not enough sanctuaries to take these animals when ill-prepared owners run afoul of local regulations, or opt to give up their "pets."

Worldwide, the wild tiger population in 1900 was estimated at 100,000. While estimates vary, its thought that at this time the number of tigers hovers between 5,000 - 7,500. (There are more captive in the U. S. than there are wild worldwide.) Three of the eight sub-species of tigers are already extinct. Although tiger hunting is illegal, continued encroachment by agriculture is destroying habitat on a large scale. Poaching and depredation hunting are taking a toll of these greatly endangered animals.

Tiger Facts

  • Tigers are the largest living species of cat
  • The largest are found in the North, gradually becoming smaller in the south
  • Siberian tiger is the largest
  • Sumatran is the smallest
  • Tigers are sexually dimorphic (males are larger than females)
  • Tigers can cover up to 33 feet in a single leap
  • Unlike humans who are flat footed, tigers walk on their toes
  • Color ranges from yellow to reddish-ochre.
  • Northern tigers are generally lighter in color than southern tigers
  • Siberian tigers have light yellow coats, Bengals, lightish yellow to reddish yellow
  • Stripe patterns are unique to each tiger
  • Tigers live about 15 years in the wild, 16 - 18 in zoos, one Siberian lived 26 years
  • Tigers greet each other by rubbing faces and cheeks on each other
  • Most tigers love water
  • An experience adult tiger can kill prey four times its size
  • The Sumatran tigers is the most endangered species
  • China is the largest consumer and producer of manufactured products containing tiger parts. WWF is making progress to change the attitude toward use of tiger products

Top cats

Top cats in North America, the geographically widespread mountain lion has many names: cougar, puma, catamount and panther. Adult males range in weight from 130 to 150 pounds, females between 65 and 90 pounds. Wild life spans average 12 years. Mountain lions are found in California from sea level to 10,000 feet and can have territories of 100 square miles. The Latin name Felis concolor means "cat of one color." The spotted kittens, usually two, are generally born in summer and stay with their mother for 2 years of survival training, after which they disperse to solitary lives. These predators are generally more adundant in areas with plentiful deer.

Typically shy, mountain lions may become habituated to human presence. If you live or play in mountain lion country take time to learn how to keep yourself, livestock, and pets safe.

The cougars
All four of the zoo's top cats - Rio, Cedar, Echo and Flash - live in the same enclosure.  In the wild, cougars are solitary animals and adult males are known to be predatory toward young cougars, especially younger males.

Cedar (as a young kitten in 2010)


Rio is arrived at the zoo a year ago (2008).  He lived at the Nimbus California Department of Fish and Game facility for nearly a year after he was found alone, starving and covered with parasites near Weimer.

Bobtailed hunters
A common and important local predator, the twenty-pound bobcat is nonetheless rarely seen. Their handsome coat is excellent camouflage, and bobcats are masters in the art of using it. The zoo bobcats seem to appear and disappear in their enclosure, just as their relatives do in the wild.

Sharp claws and teeth are the bobcat's hunting tools. They are the most common wild cat in North America. Diet favorites are rabbit, ground squirrel, mice, gopher, wood rats and even deer. Like most wild animals, bobcats are opportunists and have been known to prey on unguarded domestic animals like lambs and poultry.

Their name probably came from their short "bobbed" tails. Bobcats are territorial, occupying areas up to 25 square miles, depending on the habitat and sex of the animal. Most litters arrive in spring and average three kittens. Babies are born blind and helpless and are dependent on their mother for about eight months.

Bobcat Blue was captive born in Montana on April 27 1996, he lived with a loving human family until he was relinquised to the zoo in February 2008.

Little female bobcat Aiko was found in 1993 as tiny-orphaned kitten near Susanville, CA. Her front leg was so badly injured that it had to be removed by a veterinarian. Even with this very difficult beginning she has overcome many challenges and now lives very comfortably with Blue.

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