the most strikingly patterned wild cat in the world, the ocelot
(Felis pardalis) has paid a steep price for its beauty.
With a pelage of black spots and elongated rosettes on a golden
backdrop, the ocelot is perfectly suited to evading the notice
of prey such as small mammals and birds in the thick vegetation
in which it hunts.
captivating pelt made this cat the favorite of the fur and
pet trades, and each year between the early 1960s and mid-1970s
as many as tens or even hundreds of thousands of ocelots were
killed and captured throughout Central and South America.
on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) has greatly
curtailed killing and capture of ocelots, but ongoing habitat
destruction has likely slowed and retarded recovery tremendously.
Furthermore, the status of ocelots is not known throughout
the majority of its range.
United States, where ocelots are thought to have once ranged
from Louisiana to Arizona, only one population exists, of
around 100 animals, in south Texas close to Mexico. Some of
their habitat is on three national wildlife refuges, but because
these refuges are small and disjunct, many ocelots must cross
extensive agricultural lands to interbreed. Many are killed
confirmed ocelot in Arizona was killed in 1964, although a
series of unconfirmed sightings in the Chiricahua Mountains
of southern Arizona suggest they may have roamed their more
recently, and individuals may still occasionally cross into
the state from Mexico.
in the United States was listed as an endangered species in
1982. However, no critical habitat was designated and the
sole U.S. population may continue to be in decline. Throughout
the ocelot's past and present borderlands range, Border Patrol
vehicle use and construction of fences and lights threatens
possible migratory routes from Mexico. The Center works with
other organizations to oppose this militarization of the border.
In addition, our work to protect habitat for jaguars, also
a species whose Arizona and New Mexico presence depends on
recolonization from Mexico, will provide the same benefits
FR 31670; July 21, 1982.
ocelot is a small to medium-sized
spotted cat, weighing 17 to 30 lbs.
(AZ, TX) to Central and South America. Males tend to have
in humid tropical and subtropical forest, coastal mangroves,
swampy savannas, and semi-arid scrub (one of the borderland
span 8 - 11 years. Females usually begin estrus after
age 2. Gestation ranges from 80 to 90 days. Litter size
is usually 1 or 2 kittens but may be up to 4.
small to medium sized mammals and birds, but also reptiles,
fish, and invertebrates.
destruction from agriculture, ranching and development,
trapping, and poaching have brought this cat to endangered
status. The lack of adequate protection is keeping this
cat from recovery. Currently there is no designated critical
habitat for the ocelot.