POSTED: Thursday, January 16, 2014 - 5:00pm
UPDATED: Thursday, January 16, 2014 - 5:04pm
PORTLAND, OR (CNN) — Three newborn cougar cubs have a new home after a hunter killed their mother.
For now, they're being cared for at the Oregon zoo.
The hunter rescued them after realizing the cougar he killed had cubs.
Oregon zookeepers have been feeding and caring for the cubs after getting a call two weeks ago.
"A female cougar had been killed in the wild by a hunter and that there were three cubs that needed homes," said zookeeper Michelle Schireman
A hunter shot the cubs' mother last week near Baker City, Or.
He happens to be a retired wildlife biologist and didn't realize the cougar had cubs until it was too late.
But he immediately took action to save these little guys, and traced the cougar tracks back in the snow to find the cubs in their den.
"A lot of hunters wouldn't have taken the time and the fact that there was snow on the ground, which allowed him to track back to her den was also very helpful. It's pretty unusual," said Michelle Schireman.
Zookeepers say if that didn't happen, the cubs would not have survived.
Now, at the zoo, they're doing pretty well.
"Learning to eat from a bottle and adjust to the different formula. But they're doing really well."
But they are not staying in Oregon.
When they're strong enough, the cougars will be off to their new permanent home, the zoo in North Carolina.
And, we had to ask, what will the trio be named?
"They were born pretty darn close to Christmas so I'm thinking a holiday theme. But we'll see what they want to do in North Carolina," said Schireman.