Cougar cub is recovering after surgery to correct birth defect

August 23, 2011

Veterinary nurses Tina Branham (left) and Katie Mazuti with Tasha in the center, move about the operating room prior to the cougar’s surgery. Contributed

After undergoing surgery at a clinic in Kirkland, Issaquah’s Tasha, a 3-month-old baby cougar, is back home at the Cougar Mountain Zoo and, according to zoo General Curator Robyn Barfoot, is doing very well.

Tasha underwent surgery Aug. 17 to repair a congenital defect that was preventing her from eating solid foods.

“She’s running around and purring,” Barfoot said just two days after the surgery. “Actually, she’s purring an awful lot … She doesn’t seem fazed by any of this at all.”

Veterinarian Michael Mison led Tasha’s surgery at Seattle Veterinary Specialists.

“There were no complications during surgery,” Mison said. “I’m happy to report that Tasha is recovering nicely. We expect her to have a long and healthy life.”

SVS veterinarians diagnosed Tasha with what’s termed a vascular ring anomaly or defect on Aug. 10. Barfoot said keepers had noticed Tasha wasn’t keeping down much food, but at first attributed her vomiting to rough play. Normally, Tasha lives with two other cougar cubs. When Tasha’s problem persisted, Barfoot said zoo officials took her for tests at SVS where vets diagnosed the vascular defect.

According to information released by the clinic, vascular ring anomalies form before an animal is born when embryonic blood vessels develop abnormally.

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Cougar cub recovering after surgery to correct birth defect

August 18, 2011

NEW – 4:15 p.m. Aug. 18, 2011

After undergoing special surgery at a clinic in Kirkland, Tasha, a 3-month old cougar cub is scheduled to be back home soon at the Cougar Mountain Zoo and is reportedly doing fine.

Tasha underwent the surgery to repair a congenital defect that was preventing her from eating solid foods.

“There were no complications during surgery,” said Michael Mison, who led the surgery team at Seattle Veterinary Specialists. “I’m happy to report that Tasha is recovering nicely. We expect her to have a long and healthy life.”

SVS veterinarians diagnosed Tasha with what’s termed a vascular ring anomaly or defect on Aug. 10.

According to information released by the clinic, vascular ring anomalies form before an animal is born when embryonic blood vessels develop abnormally.

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Biodiesel blaze destroys Cougar Mountain home

August 2, 2011

Fire roared through a Cougar Mountain home early July 31 after a backyard biodiesel kit started the blaze.

Just after 6 a.m., neighbors reported flames and smoke shooting from a house in the 17000 block of Southeast 60th Street, a tree-lined neighborhood between Cougar Mountain Zoo and Cougar Ridge Elementary School.

Firefighters converged on the home, and discovered barrels and other equipment used to manufacture biodiesel in the backyard. Investigators later pinpointed the biodiesel setup as the cause of the fire.

“The fire began in the middle of that process, outside of the home, and came into the home from there,” said Lt. Troy Donlin, a Bellevue Fire Department spokesman.

Flames roared through the ground floor and damaged the attic. The basement sustained water damage as firefighters extinguished the blaze. Donlin estimated the total damage at $400,000.

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Fire from biodiesel kit destroys Cougar Mountain home early Sunday

July 31, 2011

NEW — 1:15 p.m. July 31, 2011

Fire roared through a Cougar Mountain home early Sunday morning after a backyard biodiesel kit started the blaze.

Just after 6 a.m. Sunday, neighbors reported  flames and smoke shooting from a house in the 17000 block of Southeast 60th Street, a tree-lined neighborhood between Cougar Mountain Zoo and Cougar Ridge Elementary School.

Firefighters discovered barrels and other equipment used to manufacture biodiesel behind the home. Investigators later determined the biodiesel kit started the fire.

“The fire began in the middle of that process, outside of the home, and came into the home from there,” said Lt. Troy Donlin, a Bellevue Fire Department spokesman.

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20 reasons to ♥ Issaquah

July 2, 2011

The spectacular landscape is a reason to love Issaquah. By Connor Lee

Discover 20 reasons to love Issaquah, from the highest Tiger Mountain peak to the Lake Sammamish shoreline, and much more in between. The community includes icons and traits not found anywhere else, all in a postcard-perfect setting. The unique qualities — Issa-qualities? — start at the city’s name and extend into every nook and neighborhood. (The lineup is not arranged in a particular order, because ranking the city’s pre-eminent qualities seems so unfair.)

Salmon Days

The annual salmon-centric celebration is stitched into the city’s fabric. Salmon Days serves as a last hurrah before autumn, a touchstone for old-timers and a magnet for tourists. The street fair consistently ranks among the top destinations in the Evergreen State and, for a time last year, as the best festival on earth — in the $250,000-to-$749,000 budget category, anyway.

Issaquah Alps

The majestic title for the forested peaks surrounding the city, the Issaquah Alps, is a catchall term for Cougar, Squak and Tiger mountains. (Credit the late mountaineer and conservationist Harvey Manning for the sobriquet.) The setting is a playground for outdoors enthusiasts. Trails — some official and others less so — for hikers, bikers and equestrians crisscross the mountains, like haphazard tic-tac-toe patterns.

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Cougar Mountain Zoo unveils cougar cubs

June 28, 2011

Months after Cougar Mountain Zoo’s iconic cougar Nashi died, keepers unveiled a trio of month-old cougar cubs June 23.

Cougar Mountain Zoo plans to unveil cougar cubs to the public July 16. Contributed

The cubs — one male and two females born May 20 — should go on display July 16. In the meantime, zoogoers might see the cubs during unscheduled public appearances after July 1.

“The cubs are absolutely adorable! They are extremely playful and curious about everything,” zoo General Curator Robyn Barfoot said in a news release. “I can’t wait to bring them home and introduce them to our zoo visitors.”

Barfoot and Senior Keeper Sasha Puskar picked up the then-2-pound cubs at a Wisconsin zoo.

The cubs replace Nashi, a longtime denizen at the nonprofit zoo. Nashi died in February at age 17. Keepers started the search for cougar cubs soon after.

The zoo lacked a namesake big cat in the months since Nashi’s death.

“We are still recovering from losing Nashi this past February. He was an incredible and iconic cougar,” Barfoot said. “With the addition of these new cubs, our hearts are happy again. The cubs have a lot to live up to, but so far, they are doing a fantastic job. They are healthy, happy cubs and I think our visitors will give them a wonderful welcome.”

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Issaquah’s Cougar Mountain Zoo unveils cougar cubs

June 23, 2011

Cougar Mountain Zoo's collection includes a trio of cougar cubs. Contributed

NEW — 8:30 p.m. June 23, 2011

Months after Cougar Mountain Zoo’s iconic cougar died, keepers unveiled a trio of month-old cougar cubs Thursday.

The cubs — one male and two females — should go on display July 16. In the meantime, zoogoers might see the cubs during unscheduled public appearances after July 1.

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Cougar Mountain Zoo welcomes rare birds

June 21, 2011

Cougar Mountain Zoo recently welcomed Mia and Milo — two, rare red-vented cockatoos.

Red-vented cockatoos, sometimes called Philippine cockatoos, are listed as critically endangered. They are native to the Philippines and number less than 1,000 in the wild due to habitat loss and illegal trapping.

Cougar Mountain Zoo is only one of two zoos in the United States to have the red-vented cockatoos on display.

The zoo is open for general admission from 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Wednesday through Sunday, and is open for prescheduled programs seven days a week.

Learn more at www.cougarmountainzoo.org.

Remember Issaquah zoo’s beloved cougar Saturday

March 25, 2011

NEW — 10 a.m. March 25, 2011

Join other zoogoers to remember the cougar Nashi, the beloved and iconic Cougar Mountain Zoo denizen, at a Saturday celebration.

Nashi died at age 17 late last month. The celebration starts at 2 p.m. at the zoo, 19525 S.E. 54th St. The zoo plans to open the stage for zoogoers and zookeepers to talk about Nashi.

The orphaned cougar cub arrived at the nonprofit zoo from Minnesota woods more 17 years ago.

The other cougar at the zoo, Merlin, died in 2008, and General Curator Robyn Barfoot is raising money to refurbish the cougar habitat and acquire cubs for the exhibit.

The zoo is seeking donations to cover the expected $10,000 cost. Zoogoers can donate at the zoo website.

Last cougar dies at Issaquah zoo

March 15, 2011

Nashi, a cougar at Cougar Mountain Zoo, died from old age Feb. 24. Contributed

The community is invited to Cougar Mountain Zoo to honor the life of Nashi, a cougar transplanted from the woods of Minnesota to the zoo more than 17 years ago.

Nashi died from old age Feb 24. Though he had been showing signs of slowing down for the past several months, the loss was still devastating to staff, volunteers and zoo visitors, Cougar Mountain Zoo General Curator Robyn Barfoot said.

“He was a fantastic cougar. He had a lot of spunk in him,” she said. “He enjoyed talking with the visitors every day.”

The Nashi Memorial Celebration will be at March 26 at the zoo. Instead of holding its traditional cougar lecture, the zoo will open the stage for people to talk about Nashi. Staff members who raised and worked with him will talk about his life.

“I used to joke around that he’s a rock star, because he is,” Barfoot said.

At the zoo, Nashi would model for product labels, television shows and nature documentaries.

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