Speed Reads

It wasn't all bad

Mountain lion burned in California wildfire healing thanks to bandages made of fish skin

A young mountain lion whose four paws were all badly burned by a wildfire last month is making remarkable progress, all thanks to a tilapia.

The kitten, estimated to be about five months old, was found in Santa Paula, California, late last month, the pads of his paws burned in the devastating Thomas Fire. The California Department of Fish and Wildlife says it brought the animal to Dr. Jamie Peyton of the U.C. Davis Veterinary Medical Teaching Hospital, who made bandages out of sterilized tilapia skin to cover his burns.

Doctors have used this technique on human burn victims before, and the fish skin not only protects the mountain lion's sensitive paws, but also provides collagen to speed up the healing process; the bandages will likely be chewed off by the mountain lion down the road. The California Department of Fish and Wildlife says he has "responded well to treatment," but because he was separated from his mother at such a young age, the kitten will have to remain in captivity.