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Caught on camera: Rare ocelot kittens

Mother ocelot and two kittens on Yturria Conservation Easement (USFWS).

For the first time in 20 years, biologists have discovered an ocelot in Texas, the increase of hope for the future of the endangered “little leopard.”

Ocelots, which the state of the 16-to 20 inches high and weighs between 20 and 35 pounds, once ranged from South Texas up into Arkansas and Louisiana. Today, there are only about 50 still in the USA

But recently, biologists use remote cameras to monitor seven female ocelots at the Laguna Atascosa National Wildlife Refuge in southeast Texas photographed three of the cats is followed by kittens. One of the other four has not been seen with a boy, and two are just now approaching the age at which they can reproduce.

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But the seventh wife, the greatest discovery of all, lead the researchers to a cave where she is an approximately 3-week-old male who weighed less than a pound.


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New ocelot kitten was photographed by remote camera at Laguna Atascosa NWR (USFWS).

The newborn-mother, estimated to be 11 years old, was not at the den at the time. They returned soon after the biologists left.

“I suspect that the recent years of abundant rainfall have created excellent breeding conditions for these endangered wild cats,” said Hilary Swarts of the U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service. They are part of a team of biologists at the Laguna Atacosa that track ocelots and collect data about their population, health, habitat use, range, and reproduction.

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They said that the rain encouraged the growth of the plants that are eaten by rodents, rabbits and birds, which in their turn, are the food of the ocelots.

“With enough food and water, and a minimum disturbance of the man, woman ocelots all the resources they need to successfully reproduce,” Swarts said.

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