Reunited with Cubs He Saved

By: Caitlin Burke

Oct 13 2014

Category: cats

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Columbus, OH — “Relieved.”

That’s how J.P. Rupp felt yesterday after being reunited with the two cougar kittens that he helped rescue from a wildfire in Montana at the end of August.

“It’s good to see them like this: so happy, playful and doing so well,” said Rupp, who grew up in Groveport. “The last time I saw them, they were in a bad, bad spot.”

Rupp, a wildland firefighter for the U.S. Forest Service in western Montana, got to play with the curious cubs at the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium yesterday.

He, his wife, Shakti, and their two children had been planning a visit to see family in central Ohio when he learned that the cubs were recovering at the zoo.

Jack Hanna, the zoo’s director emeritus, had arranged to bring the cougars to Columbus after hearing about their rescue. The male cubs — named Lewis and Clark — were treated for smoke inhalation.

Firefighter J.P. Rupp with the cubs, his wife Shakti O’Melveny-Rupp, and his son Jonathan Rupp, 9.

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