Rare Footage of Arizona Ocelot Shows What Could Be Lost by Border Wall

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Feline conservation group Conservation CATalyst released what it says is the first-ever trail camera footage of an endangered in Arizona on Sunday, at what the group said on its Facebook page is a “critical point” in the species’ conservation.

That is partly because of President Donald Trump’s proposed border wall, which would restrict the ability of Sonoran ocelots to cross between the U.S. and Mexico in search of food, mates and territory.

An ocelot. / Tom Smylie

“One of the greatest single threats to ocelot recovery in the United States is the proposed expansion of the U.S.-Mexico border wall,” conservation CATalyst senior researcher Chris Bugbee said on the group’s Facebook page.

“If there was ever a solid physical barrier that spanned the entire border, as is planned by our current administration, it would be ‘game over’ for both jaguar and ocelot recovery in this country. Such a fate is unacceptable.”

A2017 study by the Center for Biological Diversity looking at the potential impact of the wall on 93 threatened or found that it could drive jaguars and ocelots to extinction in the U.S.

Ocelots have been documented in Arizona since the 19th century, and five have been spotted in the state in the last 10 years. Conservation CATalyst said they have been observed breeding just 30 miles south of the border in Mexico, and may be expanding their range northward.

“I expect to see Sonoran ocelots continue to arrive in Arizona,” Conservation CATalyst Executive Director Dr. Aletris Neils said. “As long as we protect the integrity of their habitat and maintain connectivity with Sonora, these cats have the capacity to naturally recolonize lost territory in Arizona.”

The ocelot in the video was recognized as a male that has made his home in the mountains of Southeast Arizona and has been photographed in the area for at least five years. Ocelots are identified by their spotted coats, which act as camouflage and are unique to each cat, much like our fingerprints.


The video, featured below, was picked up by several Arizona news outlets including Tucson News Nowand theArizona Daily Star.

“We can tell all three video clips are from the same adult male ocelot; he is exquisite and is clearly thriving in the mountains of Arizona,” Neils said.

The male earned the honor of being the first Arizona ocelot to be officially named when a group of elementary school students at Manzo Elementary in Tucson, Arizona dubbed him Lil’ Jefe (a.k.a. ‘the Boss-elot’) earlier this month.

In addition to the border wall, ocelots are also threatened by , , car accidents and other border disturbances.

This article was first published by EcoWatch.


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Randi
Randi

Not of Ignorance and uncaring. the Wall will protect my friends and family for illegals crossing. Stop the disease that we had controlled in the USA. Well worth the sacrifice!

Arlene Steinberg
Arlene Steinberg

Rani, virtually every comment on every article you post is one of mis-information, inaccuracy, lack of knowledge, and frankly, idiocy. Since you seem to have no heart and clearly have no mind for animals at all, and always post against them, I don’t know why you bother coming here, unless you are just a troll.

Karen Lyons Kalmenson

A wall of ignorance and uncaring…and as always, the innocents pay the price for the follies of man so unkind.