WALSENBURG, Colo. -- A baby mountain lion was removed from a home after a resident took it inside, fed it bratwurst causing it to become sick, Colorado Parks and Wildlife officials said on Thursday.
According to wildlife officials, the people who took the kitten posted photos on social media on Monday showing it inside a cafe. The residents claimed they found it in a snowbank after a snowplow passed by.
The residents claimed they released the animal back into the wild after allowing it to "thaw out," but wildlife district manager Travis Sauder retrieved the animal from the home in Walsenburg on Tuesday.
Although it became sick from being fed bratwurst, the animal was in good health and was taken to a rehab center in Wetmore.
Wildlife officials warn because the animal was under six months old, it may not yet been weaned from its mother's milk and may have only eaten regurgitated solids from its mother.
"Wild animals do not need to ‘thaw out’ because they are equipped by nature to survive cold and snow,” Sauder said. “When we do have orphaned wildlife, it's important we get them to licensed rehabilitators who specialize in raising these wild animals, who know what to feed them and how to care for them so we can successfully release them back into the wild once they mature.”
Sauder said the animal was kept far too long by humans to return to where it was found and that anyone who finds baby wildlife should leave them alone and contact CPW.
"It had been almost 30 hours since it was picked up Monday and its mom would not be in the area any longer,” he said. “This is why it's vital to leave baby wildlife where you find them and call us immediately."