NEW YORK (WCBS 880) — While Staten Island Chuck gets much of the spotlight on Groundhog Day, big things are happening at the Staten Island Zoo year-round despite a tight budget.

The zoo is building an outdoor space for the Amur leopard, which Interim Zoo Director Kenneth Mitchell said was among the rarest in the world.

“There are two hundred and seventy in captivity and species conservation programs, like here at the Staten Island Zoo and thirty in the wild,” Mitchell told WCBS 880’s Sean Adams.

WCBS 880’s Sean Adams speaks with Interim Zoo Director Kenneth Mitchell

Mitchell said they may eventually look find a breeding pair of leopards in hopes of having cubs at the zoo.

“It is a tremendous responsibility and we’re very proud to be part of the species survivor program with other zoos in order to make sure the Amur leopards survive,” he said.

Also among the new exhibits is Rattlemania, which the zoo hopes will allow it to regain the title of “largest collection of North American Rattlesnakes.”

“We’re going to put thirteen species of rattlesnakes, maybe more, which will replicate the eco-system in the Sonoran Desert,” Mitchell said.

The zoo also recently got a Kinkajou, a South American honey bear with a monkey’s tail and a long tongue.

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