Feline Conservation Federation

North Carolina

North Carolina regulations on Wild and Exotic Felines

Wildlife Resources Commission
1724 Mail Service Center
Raleigh, NC 27699
919-661-4872

State Web Site: http://www.ncgov.com/
Department Web Site: http://www.ncwildlife.org/

Short Summary: Requires Wildlife Captivity License for native cougars and bobcats, which is only issued to bona fide publicly supported zoos and educational or scientific research institutions. For private possession of cougars, the state requires natural habitats of rather grandiose proportions: minimum one-acre enclosure, 12-foot fences with 45-degree recurve, pool, den, vegetation and landscaping, property must be owned by applicant.

Zoos or Scientific Research facilities are allowed to keep cougars in concrete and chain link cages.

Natural habitats are not required for bobcats like they are for cougars, but the state has minimum cage size requirements. Must apply for Import Permit if native feline is being brought into state from outside the state. Must be USDA exhibitor or research institution to import any species native to North or South America. But that is not a requirement to purchase in-state, though NC does not issue permits for pet purposes.

Effective 3/6/2013 - The state passed a new law that any captivity license violation shall be processed in a superior court in the county in which the violation took place. 

State does not regulate non-native species, but many counties have enacted regulations of wild felines.