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WVa Sanctuary provides safe home for mountain lions and bobcat.
By Rick Steelhammer. Staff writer. Jenkins watched as Montana efficiently stripped meat and sinew from a section of rib and spine donated by a nearby deer processor. They eat both the deer and chicken bones and all. Orphaned along with Montana were his brother and sister, who were adopted by the Queens Zoo in New York. Although Jenkins has added four cougar enclosures since he opened the sanctuary with one lion inbuilt a network of volunteers and donors, and now cares for four mountain lions and one bobcat, he looks forward to a time when his operation is no longer needed.
But as long as people keep raising mountain lions as pets still legal in 30 statesselling them at auctions, or leaving juvenile lions orphaned in hunts or accidents, Jenkins will be making the rounds at his enclosures, doling out deer ribs and checking on the well-being of his charges. In addition to Montana, they include:. Tecumseh, who was three weeks old when he arrived here a few months after Burton, and initially required bottle-feeding from Jenkins and his wife, Sheila.
The baby lion had been destined for an exotic animal auction when sanctuary volunteers bought him from a breeder. Now, the huge cat enjoys rolling a beach ball — and sometimes a bowling ball — as he makes his rounds around his enclosure.
The mountain lioness had been living in a foot dog run before coming to the sanctuary, and had stopped eating. Carrie who lived as a pet in a small pen in the Maryland suburbs for 12 years before arriving here in She died of natural causes in Jenkins also had hopes of eventually releasing Jackson into the wild, but so far, the Division of Natural Resources has not approved that prospect. Mountain lions, also known as cougars, pumas and panthers — although they are not the same species as black or spotted panthers — once roamed the mountains of West Virginia, preying mainly on deer.
But the native strain of the eastern cougar is now believed to be extinct here, according to the DNR. While there are numerous annual reports of mountain lion sightings in the state, DNR biologists generally believe those filing the reports have mistaken other animals for the big cats, or else the animals spotted were cougars that had been released from captivity.
While Jenkins said he would eventually like to see a cougar re-introduction effort made in West Virginia, public misconceptions about the animal are Lookig for Morgantown West Virginia cougar to allow re-introduction any time soon.
Jenkins, a Morgantown native who attended WVU, first got involved with big cats after pursuing a job in South Carolina, where he met his wife, and both worked as volunteers at Hollywild Animal Park near Spartanburg. The sanctuary is located off a back road about six miles south of the Coopers Rock interchange of Interstate 68, on land settled by his great-grandparents. Jenkins initially managed an industrial cleaning service when he moved back to West Virginia from South Carolina, but he and his wife have since built a series of log cabins for vacationers seeking a remote getaway.
Five cabins are now complete with a sixth expected to open this week followed by a seventh next month. Mountain Creek Cabins has proved popular enough that the Jenkinses are able to work at home and maintain close tabs on the adjacent sanctuary. Fish and Wildlife Service. To contact staff writer Rick Steelhammer use e-mail or call For the cats.
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