Ocelot in Arizona!

Hi there- I’ve been thinking about doing a Macho B post but I just haven’t had the time (or stomach, to be honest) to sit down and compose something on such a rancorous topic. So instead I’m going to talk about another cat: the ocelot.The Sky Island Alliance announced yesterday that they had photographed an ocelot in Cochise County on November 7, 2009. It’s great to have another wild cat in Arizona, especially a live one!! I don’t believe the picture has been released, the only ones I have found are of animals from N Mexico. Here’s a story from The AZ Daily Star:

A rare tropical cat has been photographed by a remote camera in Southern Arizona.

Volunteers with the Witness for Wildlife program last week retrieved images of an ocelot taken by cameras in Cochise County, according to a press release from the Sky Island Alliance, a local conservation organization that set up the camera.

The image of the cat was dated Nov. 7, 2009.

The photograph is the first verifiable record of the elusive feline being alive in Arizona, according to the press release.

“It shows that Southern Arizona has a high-quality habitat. It’s very diverse,” said Jessica Lamberton, a Sky Island Alliance biologist.

Previous records of the cat in Arizona came from dead specimens, Lamberton said.

The organization does not plan to capture the animal, she said.

The animals have tan-brown fur and are darkly spotted with distinguishing parallel black stripes on the forehead, neck and shoulder.

They have long tails and agile bodies, usually weighing about 35 pounds.

The ocelot was listed in the United States as a federally endangered species in 1982.

The cats have been documented in northern Mexico just below the Arizona border for the last three years, Lamberton said.

A small number of ocelots also are known to live in South Texas.

Contact reporter Jamar Younger at jyounger@azstarnet.com or 573-4115.

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