She was just over 10 pounds when she was found—"semiconscious, extremely emaciated, dehydrated, weak," and with tremors, per the San Diego Humane Society. Now, the mountain lion cub discovered by two firefighters early last month is a healthier 22 pounds, much more active, and, as the Los Angeles Times puts it, "getting her roar back." Joe Colvin and Nick Gillott, the US Forest Service staffers who found the cub—estimated then to be 14 weeks old—says she could barely squeak, let alone roar, when they stumbled upon her on Sept. 2 while on a hike near Idyllwild, Calif. She "wasn't really moving [and] seemed distressed," and she was having trouble breathing, a USFS spokesman says, adding that the cub's mother was nowhere to be seen, leading the firefighters to assume the cub was orphaned.
The SD Humane Society seems to agree, noting that mountain lion cubs tend to stick with their moms until they're between 12 months and 18 months old, per KGTV. Colvin and Gillott transported the sick kitty in a cat carrier to the state's Department of Fish and Wildlife, which in turn gave her to the SD Humane Society's Project Wildlife. The cub is the first wildlife patient on Project Wildlife's new campus in Ramona. KFMB notes the Project Wildlife team pumped the cub full of fluids and meds, and she's now eating five meals a day. "We are delighted she has responded well to our treatment and are hopeful she will make a full recovery," a Ramona campus rep says. Because it's not safe to return an orphaned cub to the wild, she'll soon be moved to her new home at a "qualified wildlife facility," per a SD Humane Society Facebook post. Hear her here. (Read more mountain lion stories.)