Rescued at just eight weeks old Nicole the puma cub was orphaned, terrified and very sick. With the help of a surgeon at the Sonoma County Wildlife Rescue her intestinal blockage was removed and she was on her way to recovery. Staff members spent a lot of time with her and built her a special den box to sleep in, taught her to play and assured her health was improving. So she wouldn’t ever feel lonely, they also gave her a large plush stuffed tiger. Nicole grew deeply attached to this toy, cuddling it like it was her mother and playing with it like a sibling. She even slept with it in her den box.
Since she was so small when she was rescued Nicole cannot return to the wild but has taken an important role as an education ambassador animal at SCWR. She lives at SCWR and is seen by thousands of people a year in education programs for children and adults about why it is important protect predators like pumas. She does have a real live cat friend to bond with now. Shortly after she reached the age when it was unsafe for workers to go into her closure the center received another orphaned cub that was just a couple months younger and were able to slowly introduce the two together and they became close companions.