The two ocelot kittens born at the Greenville Zoo earlier this year are in need of names – and the zoo plans to auction off the naming rights to the highest bidder.
Staff members have created a list of possible names and are asking the public to vote for their favorite.
The names include Dale & Junior, Pancho & Lefty, Stewart & Gordon, Clint & Edward, Smoke & Outlaw, James & Connor, Leonard & Sheldon, Porter & Stout, and Barley and Rye.
Zoo supporters can cast their vote for one of the pairs of names at ocelotcontest.eventbrite.com. Each vote requires $5. There is no limit on the number of votes that an individual can submit. The winning names will be announced on June 21, along with the amount of money raised through the voting process.
The proceeds of the online auction, which is open now and ends June 19, will go to a conservation program called “Selfies in the Forest” by the Instituto de Pesquisas Ecológicas, a Brazilian organization that conducts research on ocelots.
“It’s not an overstatement to say that the future of many species lies in all of our hands, so we hope that seeing and learning about these baby animals will inspire everyone in our community to support conservation efforts here and across the world,” said zoo administrator Jeff Bullock.
The world’s ocelot population, while not endangered, is declining due to pressure from habitat destruction and the resulting lack of prey species, according to the International Society for Endangered Cats.
Ocelots, which range in size from 18 to 40 pounds, are found in every country south of the United States, except Chile, and occasionally range as far north as Texas. Their habitats include mangrove forests and coastal marshes, savanna grasslands and pastures, and thorn scrub and tropical forests of all types.
Ocelots are solitary and territorial nocturnal hunters, with eyesight six times greater than a human’s, and while they can climb trees and swim, they spend most of their time hunting on the ground.
The two male kittens, which were born in March, are the second offspring of Evita and Oz, who were brought to the zoo in 2013 in hopes that they would mate. Their first two kittens, which were born in 2015, marked the first successful birth of the species at the Greenville Zoo.
The kittens went on exhibit earlier this month. Oz has been kept separate in the zoo’s regular ocelot exhibit while the kittens continue to mature. Evita and her kittens currently occupy the first exhibit as visitors enter the South America area.
For more information, visit greenvillezoo.com.