Mountain lion cubs Hazel and Holly are stretching their legs and settling into their forever home at the Big Bear Alpine Zoo. 

Earlier this year, the two orphaned cubs received extensive veterinary treatment and critical care at the Oakland Zoo after they were found in a vulnerable state. However, wildlife experts from the California Department of Fish and Wildlife deemed them “non-releasable,” and the Big Bear Alpine Zoo was thrilled to take over care of the cubs. 

Upon their arrival at the Big Bear Alpine Zoo in early May, the cubs underwent a mandatory quarantine period. This precautionary measure is routine in zoos and aims to ensure the well-being of both the cubs and the existing zoo residents, minimizing the risk of introducing illnesses. 

The zoo already had an exhibit set up for mountain lions. During the quarantine period, the exhibit was modified to accommodate the teenage cubs. After a successful quarantine period, the adorable duo are gradually being introduced to their new exhibit and becoming acclimated to zoo visitors. Visitors are advised that Hazel and Holly are still getting used to their new surroundings and sometimes hide from view.  

The mountain lions are thriving in their new home, steadily gaining weight, increasing their diet with new foods, and being introduced to enrichment devices. To see Hazel and Holly and hear more about their story, please watch their video produced by San Bernardino County. 

With its rich experience in caring for mountain lions and other mountain-climate animals in need of care and shelter, the Big Bear Alpine Zoo stands ready to provide a safe and nurturing environment for these majestic creatures. 

Bill Hoffman, former Zoo Curator and now Regional Manager for Big Bear Valley Recreation & Park District, emphasizes the zoo’s commitment to both animal welfare and environmental education. 

“Our goal is always to rehabilitate and release animals whenever possible, but we also serve as a sanctuary for those that cannot survive in their natural habitat. Through our work, we strive to foster respectful coexistence between humans and wildlife. Our mission is always conservation, rehabilitation, and education,” Hoffman said. 

The Big Bear Alpine Zoo invites the public to stay updated on this exciting journey by following Big Bear Alpine Zoo on Facebook and Instagram, where you can watch daily updates on Hazel, Holly, and all of the other animals and birds representing more than 85 species of animals on exhibit at the zoo. 

Visitors can see Hazel and Holly and experience the wonders of the Big Bear Alpine Zoo daily from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tickets can be purchased on-site or conveniently online at

Additional County Update News – July 21, 2023