Two mountain lion cubs at Southwest Wildlife Conservation Center have been named Echo and Dash after a three-week contest that also raised $19,260 — the highest amount of donations a naming contest has ever yielded for Southwest Wildlife.
A total of 3,852 votes were cast by 423 generous donors, who each made a monetary donation to cast a vote. The names Echo and Dash received 2,166 votes, while Alpine and Apache came in second at 858 votes and, close behind, were Zion and Bryce with 828 votes.
“We had donors from across Arizona and throughout the Midwest who donated more than $19,000 to help us care for these animals and others here at Southwest Wildlife,” said Linda Searles, founder and director of Southwest Wildlife Conservation Center. “We are incredibly thankful and excited about the journey ahead in helping to raise and rehabilitate the two cubs here at Southwest Wildlife Conservation Center.”
As part of the contest, the public was invited to join the sanctuary in an inspiring journey of rescue, resilience and community.
This unique initiative celebrated the remarkable survival story of these young cubs and also raised vital funds to support their care and development. The funds will now go towards the rescue, rehabilitation and care of permanent sanctuary residents, including food, medical attention and compassion.
The Arizona Game and Fish Department reached out to Southwest Wildlife Conservation Center regarding the arrival of two orphaned baby mountain lions when the cubs were just a few weeks old. Arizona Game and Fish Department’s wildlife biologists discovered the mother of the kittens was fatally injured in a car collision.
Despite her injuries, the mother's indomitable maternal instinct compelled her to make a final, determined journey back to her den in a bid to reach her kittens.
Sadly, the mother died just as she reached her cubs, but her courageous act set in motion a life-saving mission. The orphaned brothers were brought into the care of the Southwest Wildlife Conservation Center, where they are now under the care of dedicated staff and volunteers.
Transitioned to a spacious indoor enclosure, the young mountain lions receive meticulous care, protection from extreme temperatures, vaccinations and opportunities for growth and development. While they may never experience the nurturing of their mother in the wild, they have found a loving sanctuary environment that will be their forever home.
“These two mountain lion cubs are doing great,” Searles said. “They are growing fast and have almost completely lost their baby spots.”
When the cubs get a bit bigger, they will begin supervised outside play times and will eventually be transitioned into a permanent enclosure alongside adult mountain lions Ash and Nocona.
The public can continue supporting these cubs and other animals at Southwest Wildlife through donations. To make a donation or for more information on how to sponsor an animal, visit southwestwildlife.org/donate.