Asheboro, NC — On March 3rd, the North Carolina Zoo will become home to a trio of cougar kittens, two females and a male. The cougars became orphans after a hunter killed their mother in Oregon last month. Once the hunter realized the adult cougar had kittens, they were taken to the Oregon Zoo where zoo keepers helped wean the animals. They say, if the kittens had not been rescued they would have starved or been eaten by a predator.

Pilots with LightHawk, a volunteer based environmental aviation group, will transport the kittens from Portland, Oregon, to the Piedmont Triad International Airport in Greensboro, N.C. LightHawk provides free flights to help protect land, water and wildlife. N.C. Zoo Society board members helped connect N.C. Zoo keepers with the LightHawk pilots.

Once the cougars which are about two months old arrive at the N.C. Zoo, they will be under a 30 day quarantine which is mandatory for all new animals. Patrons will soon be able to see the kittens in the cougar exhibit in the zoo’s Cypress Swamp complex.

The zoo is an agency of the N.C. Department of Environment and Natural Resources, John E. Skvarla, III, Secretary; Pat McCrory, Governor.