Potential ocelot sighting could mean a lot for the species | Environment
New photos have surfaced on an ocelot sighting in the Huachuca Mountains and are being examined to see if they are the same ocelot that was sighted in 2011.
These second set of ocelot photos were taken on April 26 and 27 of this year and were provided to Arizona Game and Fish from a third party. The 2011 sighting were confirmed photos from a hunter's trail camera. Arizona Fish and Game also received photos of an ocelot sighting in Arizona, one from February 2012 and another from back in 2009, but the location involved in both could not be confirmed and were dismissed.
“If photo analysis concludes it is the same ocelot, it shows that the cat not only survived the Monument Fire but remains in the Huachucas,” said Regional Supervisor Raul Vega of Game and Fish in Tucson.
Ocelots have been on the endangered species list since 1982, and have rarely been seen in Arizona. The only confirmed sighting of an ocelot in Arizona, was after one had been run over near Globe in April 2010. Prior to that, the last time any had been seen was in the 1960’s.
These cats are spotted, small to medium in size and have a long tail, with a range running from east and west lowlands of Mexico, through Central America and in the lowlands of Ecuador, Colombia, Peru, Brazil and Argentina. Their range also extends to the United States with a small population in southern Texas.
There are other animals like bobcats, young mountain lions, and servals (an African cat popular in with the pet trade) that are often misidentified as an ocelot, which is why official verification is important.
Ocelots are protected by the Endangered Species Act and should be left alone. If anyone encounters a cat believed to be an ocelot, the Game and Fish Department requests that photos along with observation information be reported immediately to the department, by calling this number: 1-800-352-0700.
For more information on ocelots, visit the department’s website at www.azgfd.gov/ocelot