Quantcast

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

An ocelot. U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service / Tom Smylie

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.

The video, featured below, was picked up by several Arizona news outlets including Tucson News Now and the Arizona Daily Star.

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.

Sponsored
zeljkosantrac / E+ / Getty Images

Medically reviewed by Hrefna Palsdottir, MS

Oats are considered to be one of the healthiest grains on earth. Find out why and how to incorporate this breakfast staple into your morning routine.

Read More Show Less
Youth activists ages 11-18 learn to fight plastic pollution at the inaugural Ocean Heroes Bootcamp. Ocean Heroes Bootcamp

By 2018 Ocean Heroes: Claire MacQueen (13 years old), Sabine Thomas (13) and Ava Inskeep (14)

We despise single-use plastics. We want to keep our oceans and our beaches clean. Early last year I (Claire) lived in India for several months and became curious about plastic waste, as it was much more visible in India than back home in the U.S. Seeing all the plastic waste while I was visiting helped me to understand that much of the trash produced by the U.S. actually ends up in developing countries, like India, which does not have a proper waste management system like we do at home, which causes a ton of trash to end up in waterways and the ocean.

Read More Show Less
Sponsored
Sen. Bernie Sanders speaks at a Martin Luther King Jr. Day event in South Carolina on Jan. 21. Sean Rayford / Getty Images

Independent Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders announced Tuesday that he will run for president in 2020, becoming the latest candidate in a crowded Democratic primary field to promise a Green New Deal if elected, The Washington Post reported.

Read More Show Less
Degraded coral reefs at Kahekili Beach Park in west Maui, Hawaii. Peter Swarzenski / Usgs

In a case watched closely both by polluting industries and clean water advocates across the nation, the U.S. Supreme Court agreed to take up an appeal of a Clean Water Act case out of Hawaii concerning treated sewage flowing into the Pacific Ocean from injection wells.

Read More Show Less
A woman works at a distrubiton station at the 855,000-square-foot Amazon fulfillment center in Staten Island, one of the five boroughs of New York City, on Feb. 5. JOHANNES EISELE / AFP / Getty Images

Amazon will strive to cut carbon emissions from its shipments in half by 2030, the e-commerce giant said Monday. The retailer's plan calls for an increase in the use of electric delivery vehicles and renewable energy as well as pressuring suppliers to use less packaging.

Read More Show Less