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PORTLAND The cougar cub that s been growing up in the Oregon Zoo since it was born on September 19 will soon move to a new home.

Little Palus was a fuzzy ball of fur with brown spots, blue eyes, and huge paws when zoo visitors first saw her last fall. Now, she s an amber-eyed adult mountain lion with a sleek, tan coat.

Photos: Cougar cub grows up at Oregon Zoo

She will be transported to her new home at the Caldwell Zoo in Texas on Jan. 17.

Zoo visitors can say goodbye to Palus during a special ceremony starting at 10:30 a.m. on Thursday, Jan. 12. She will also be hanging out all weekend long at the zoo s Cougar Crossing exhibit.

Zookeepers said it will be hard to see Palus go but they will look forward to regular updates on her progress from the Texas zoo.

Mountain lions don t live in family groups or prides as African lions do, and males don t live in the same space as their cubs, said Michelle Schireman, zoo cougar keeper. Since Palus birth, we ve alternated which cougars went on exhibit so she and her father weren t out at the same time. Now that Palus no longer needs her mother, she ll move to Texas and her parents will have regular access to the exhibit again.

Palus was named after the Palus tribe of Washington state, now part of the Confederated Tribes of the Colville Reservation. She currently weighs about 88 pounds.

The Caldwell Zoo has a male cougar named Monte that will be paired with Palus.

Monte is an orphan from Oregon that I placed in 2009, so it s fun that Palus is joining a cougar from her neck of the woods, Schireman said. I m so pleased that Palus is going to a great home where she ll have another young cougar to play with.

Cougars are also known as mountain lions, pumas and, in Florida, as panthers. They live mostly in the western United States and Canada and have a carnivorous diet both in the wild and at the zoo. With the exception of the Florida panthers, cougars are not listed as endangered, but they do face many challenges in other parts of the country due to human encroachment and habitat destruction.

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