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Very Rare Wild Cat Spotted in Arizona

An endangered ocelot was seen by a man working on his yard in an area of southern Arizona. His dogs had been barking at an unidentified animal, which climbed a tree, so the man reported it to Arizona Game and Fish. One of their officers arrived and confirmed it was an ocelot.

Ocelots have been protected as endangered in the United States since 1972. Mainly they live in Mexico, Central and South America. Hundreds of thousands have been killed for their fur.

The last confirmed sighting of an ocelot in Arizona was in 2009. They used to live in Arizona, Louisiana, and Arkansas, but now may only inhabit some very small part of Texas and wander into Arizona once in a while from Mexico. Many of the ocelots that used to live in the US  were shot by ranchers, killed by dogs, or run over by cars. Additionally, their habitat was taken over. They generally remain in densely vegetated areas for protection. There are reportedly only about 50 ocelots left in the wild in the United States. Their last community is in Texas, according to the Forest and Wildlife Service.

They can move around greatly, and require a large amount of wild land in order to survive: “Overall, a good general estimate is somewhere around 500 to 800 acres of really good habitat can support one male and maybe two females.” (Source: ValleyCentral.com) They are typically nocturnal and hunt small animals for food, including fish, crabs, and birds. They weigh 18 to 22 pounds, but some are larger.

Much of their natural habitat, the dense thorn forest in the Rio Grande delta, was cleared, leaving them vulnerable to dogs and having to cross roads to find pockets of forest. The major cause of death for these cats now is being hit by cars. The Forest and Wildlife Service places radio collars on about five to ten of them to study their movements and mortality. Their population is so small inbreeding has taken place, and the service may introduce wild ocelots from Mexico to expand their gene pool.

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5:03PM PST on Feb 28, 2012

Beautiful cat.........May you live long an prosper .

1:55PM PST on Dec 7, 2011

Beautiful. May this cat prosper!

10:28PM PST on Dec 1, 2011

it's such a beautiful cat. thankfully the dogs only treed it and didn't catch it. sad that they're now so scarce: 'shot by ranchers, killed by dogs, run over by cars' = sad, sad, sad!

5:28PM PST on Nov 28, 2011

What beautiful cats!

2:29PM PDT on Jul 16, 2011

Beautiful cat!

11:22AM PDT on Mar 16, 2011

Ocelots are some beautiful animals and I'm glad to hear they've beed found in Arizona. It would be wonderful if they'd be able to make their homes in our southwestern states... they've been a long time gone.

5:09PM PST on Mar 3, 2011

Great news!

4:31AM PST on Mar 1, 2011

Awwwwww!! So Sacred!!

1:37AM PST on Feb 25, 2011

What a beauty! Please remember that this fur will look mesmerizingly beautiful only on an Ocelot, not on any one else!

7:37PM PST on Feb 24, 2011

Wonderful imagery, and amazing find. A truly beautiful creature. Now that the 'cat is out of the bag,' so to speak, i suppose the drooling, greedy, retarded, maladroit politicians will declare open season on it.

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Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author and may not reflect those of
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