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Rare Footage of Arizona Ocelot Shows What Could Be Lost by Border Wall
Feline conservation group Conservation CATalyst released what it says is the first-ever trail camera footage of an endangered ocelot 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.
"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."
A 2017 study by the Center for Biological Diversity looking at the potential impact of the wall on 93 threatened or endangered species found that it could drive jaguars and ocelots to extinction in the U.S.
Amazing Arizona Ocelot Video by Conservation CATalyst www.youtube.com
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.
"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 poaching, poisoning, car accidents and other border disturbances.
EcoWatch Daily Newsletter
At EcoWatch, our team knows that changing personal habits and taking actions that contribute to a better planet is an ongoing journey. Earth Day, happening on April 22, is a great reminder for all of us to learn more about the environmental costs of our behaviors like food waste or fast fashion.
To offer readers some inspiration this Earth Day, our team rounded up their top picks for films to watch. So, sit back and take in one of these documentary films this Earth Day. Maybe it will spark a small change you can make in your own life.
On Friday, Seal Rescue Ireland released Sesame the seal into the ocean after five months of rehabilitation at the Seal Rescue Ireland facility. Watch the release on EcoWatch's Facebook.
By Jordan Davidson
Guinness is joining the fight against single use plastic. The brewer has seen enough hapless turtles and marine life suffering from the scourge of plastic.
People of all ages are spending more of their day looking at their phones, computers and television screens, but parents now have another reason for limiting how much screen time their children get — it could lead to behavioral problems.