Two cougar cubs — orphans Russet and Yukon — are moving from the Elmwood Park Zoo to the Saint Louis Zoo. Justin Heinze covered their upcoming road trip in the Norristown Patch.
The pair were found in Idaho in February 2017, according to an Elmwood Park Zoo Facebook post.
Their presence was brought to the Idaho Department of Fish and Game (IDGF) by a landowner who reported that they were living in his barn.
IDFG officials began to believe he had killed their mother and was intending perhaps to raise them himself (he was reportedly feeding them). But after two short weeks, they became too large for him to safely house them.
Representatives fro IDFG stepped in, rescued them, found them to be too habituated for return to the wild, and sought a home.
Elmwood Zoo agreed to bring them to Norristown, naming them Russet and Yukon.
They stayed for more than five years. Their relocation is being necessitated for their best interest; it is expected that the zoo’s upcoming renovation may be unnerving to them.
“While we are terribly sorry to see them go, moving the cougars to a large enclosure at another [Association of Zoos and Aquariums]-accredited facility now before our major construction projects begin will ensure that their comfort and well-being are maintained,” a zoo official wrote in a statement.
More on the new home for Russet and Yukon is at the Norristown Patch.
This 2021 video shows the fifth birthday of Russet and Yukon at Elmwood Park Zoo.
Note that the zoo is currently closed for the renovation that precipitated the exit of the cougars.