Nov. 16 (UPI) -- Authorities in Colorado said a mountain lion cub became sick after a resident brought it inside their home and fed it bratwurst.
Colorado Parks & Wildlife said an investigation was opened when officials were made aware of photos posted to social media Monday showing a mountain lion cub inside a resident's home.
The post, which showed the animal in a cage, said the young cougar had been found in a snowbank after a snowplow passed by. The post alleged the mountain lion had been set free after taking some time to "thaw out," but investigators visited the home Tuesday and found the feline was still being kept in the cage.
Travis Sauder, CPW district wildlife manager, said the cub was sick from being fed bratwurst, but was otherwise in good health.
"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 residents may have prevented the cub from reuniting with its mother.
"If you find wildlife you believe to be orphaned, leave the area immediately and call CPW," Sauder said. "By leaving the area, mom will feel safe to come back and retrieve her young."
"Many animals intentionally leave their young behind when startled, relying on the built-in camouflage of the youngsters' spotted fur to keep them safe. The mother will then return to retrieve its young once the area is safe," he said.
Sauder said the cub, believed to be less than six months old, was taken to a wildlife rehab center.