EMPORIA, Kan. – An orphaned mountain lion cub rescued from Washington state now has a name.
The David Traylor Zoo in Emporia says visitors chose “Flint” to reflect the cub’s new home in the beautiful Flint Hills of Kansas. Visitors voted for names by donation with “Flint” garnering more than $1,280 dollars! The name “Blue” came in second. The zoo received more than 700 name suggestions and narrowed them down to five. Voting on the five names raised $3,109.62 for the zoo.
Washington Fish and Wildlife rescued the cub in late January as he sat next to his mother that had been shot illegally. Flint is doing well and has been introduced to his new exhibit. The zoo staff will allow him access to the outdoor exhibit during zoo hours. However, the staff asks that visitors have patience as he may not emerge immediately as his natural behavior is to be out of sight. Flint will become accustomed to the sights and sounds of visitors as the summer progresses.
Beginning Sunday, April 6th, the zoo docents will be in the zoo (weather permitting) and at the Zoo Education Center from 1-2:30pm on Sundays. A docent will be stationed near the mountain lion exhibit with artifacts and to answer questions.
In mid-February, the zoo’s 16-year-old male mountain lion had to be euthanized due to his declining health as he battled congestive heart failure and severe osteoarthritis. Sampson had continued to decline physically and zoo staff and veterinarian, Dr. Richard Mendoza had exhausted all measures to assure his continued comfort.
Sampson arrived at the zoo in 1998, as an orphan from Wyoming and quickly became a favorite for zoo visitors. It was not unusual to see Sampson lounging in his cave at the front of his exhibit watching visitors pass by or spending time up in his tree overseeing the entire zoo. Zoo Director, Lisa Keith says “Sampson has left very large paw prints on the hearts of many, and he will be greatly missed.”