ASHEBORO -

The North Carolina Zoo is to become the new home to a trio of cougar kittens orphaned in Oregon after a hunter killed their mother.
    
A statement from the zoo said the male and two females were taken to the Oregon Zoo once the hunter realized the adult cougar had kittens. Otherwise, officials there said the kittens may have starved or been eaten by a predator.
    
Pilots with the volunteer group LightHawk will transport the kittens from Portland, Ore., to Greensboro. The kittens are scheduled to arrive Monday evening.
    
Once the cougars arrive at the N.C. Zoo, they will be under a mandatory 30-day quarantine. Patrons will soon be able to see the kittens in the cougar exhibit in the zoo's Cypress Swamp complex.