Mountain Lion

Background Information

The Desert Museum traditionally adopts orphaned mountain lions, which have not been suitable for release into the wild, including the Museum's current resident, found as a five and a half-month-old male cub in San Jose, CA in March 2013 weighing only 15 lbs. Rescued and nursed back to health by the California Department of Fish and Wildlife, but unsuitable for reintroduction into the wild, its adoption by the Desert Museum was arranged through the Arizona Game and Fish Department.

Read more about Cruz's background.


Sex Male
Rescued March 9, 2013 in San Jose, CA
Rescue Weight 15 lbs.
Favorite Food Goats Milk
Favorite Activities Chasing rock squirrels and lazing in the shade

Naming Contest

My name is Cruz!

My name was submitted by Darlene Baty of Tucson, Arizona, and references the Santa Cruz river that runs through the Sonoran Desert.

Cruz was selected as the winning name from over 1400 submissions. Entries came in from 34 states and the District of Columbia, and 6 foreign countries. The list was narrowed down to 10, and Museum staff, docents, and volunteers voted to determine the winner.

Other top 5 names were:

The mountain lion has been an iconic symbol of the Desert Museum for many years and in the past the Museum's male mountain lions have always been named George L. Mountainlion.

"The Museum will continue to embrace this tradition using the iconic image and name, however, the reigning George L. has retired and this cub needs a name. So, the decision was made to invite the community to help the Museum name the new cub…"
—Executive Director, Craig Ivanyi.

New Mountain Lion Cub peeking out from behind a rock.
Photo by Rhonda Spencer

Watch young Cruz as he explored his new home on his first day out:

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