Cub Scouting

Cub Scouting: You can help the WNC Nature Center name its new cougar cubs
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Olive and obi-wan, Shalimar and Cody, Beatrice and Barney. These are a few of the 200 characters (namely the pairs of otters, gray wolves, and coyotes) that live at the WNC Nature Center in Asheville. This winter, the center welcomed a pair of orphaned male cougar cubs from Oregon—and you’ll have a chance to name them. After Val, a 19-year-old cougar, passed away two years ago, the nature center went on a waiting list for cubs. So when the call came in September, Assistant Animal Curator Lauren Pearson made a cross-country flight to bring home the shy, but curious, five-pound cats. Now five months old and weighing more than 40 pounds, the growing cubs are getting acquainted with their new surroundings, and will go on view in April. “You can’t rush putting them on exhibit,” advises Chris Gentile, the center’s director. “They have to acclimate to the care routine, and get used to voices, squeals, and new faces. ” After a couple of weeks in the spotlight, you’ll have the opportunity to name the cats by submitting suggestions through the center’s website. Staff will narrow the choices, then hold online voting. The entrants who submit the winning names will be the guests of honor at a naming ceremony.