Raleigh, N.C. — Gov. Pat McCrory's proposed budget would allow the North Carolina Zoo to build a new outdoor ocelot exhibit.
An ocelot is a big cat native to Central and South America. A female ocelot will mature at around 20 pounds; a male ocelot can reach 35 pounds.
Currently, the zoo's pair of ocelots is housed indoors at the Sonora Desert exhibit. The new exhibit would be built outside, next to the Sonora exhibit.
"The purpose of the exhibit is to help us ... breed ocelots from other zoos," said John Groves, who oversees the Sonora exhibit for the zoo.
There would be no state money involved in the project. The $642,000 was raised privately but has to be authorized by the General Assembly before it can be spent.
Groves said the exhibit could be ready by next spring if everything goes according to schedule.
Two ocelots were born at the North Carolina Zoo in 2011. They have since moved to other zoos.
Once the new exhibit is complete, Groves said, the zoo would be better able to breed its existing pair and host breeding pairs from others zoos.