Flint tops Blue for orphaned cougar’s name

A young cougar orphaned in the Walla Walla area is awaiting a name at a zoo in Emporia, Kan.

A young cougar orphaned in the Walla Walla area is awaiting a name at a zoo in Emporia, Kan. Courtesy photo

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WALLA WALLA — An orphaned cougar cub from the Tucannon River area of the Blue Mountains that was captured and relocated in a Kansas zoo now has a name.

After a contest, Flint was chosen as the name of the solo star of the big-cat exhibit at the David Traylor Zoo in Emporia.

The mother of the then 16-week-old cub had been shot and killed after cougar hunting season had been closed. The cub was found and captured in late January by Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife officers.

Officer Jim Nelson said there is a cash reward for information leading an arrest of the shooter.

“We have a couple leads that we are still working on tracking down but at this time no solid evidence,” he said.

Shortly after being captured, the orphan was flown to the Emporia zoo and put in quarantine for 30 days, during which a cougar naming contest was started.

Zoo officials received more than 700 names from the public and narrowed them down to five choices: Blue because of the Blue Mountains; Flint because of his new home in the Flint Hills of Kansas; Oliver because he is a orphan; Wally because his is from an area near Walla Walla; and Warrior because it’s a strong name.

While visiting the zoo, patrons were asked to donate money in drop boxes that corresponded to each of the five names.

A total of $3109.62 was raised, of which $1208.67 was dropped in the box for the name of Blue.

Flint topped that by a mere $77, bringing in $1285.42.

Alfred Diaz can be reached at alfreddiaz@wwub.com or 526-8325.

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