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Grizzly bears, black bears, wolves, coyotes, cougars/ mountain lions,bobcats, wolverines, lynx, foxes, fishers and martens are the suite of carnivores that originally inhabited North America after the Pleistocene extinctions. This site invites research, commentary, point/counterpoint on that suite of native animals (predator and prey) that inhabited The Americas circa 1500-at the initial point of European exploration and subsequent colonization. Landscape ecology, journal accounts of explorers and frontiersmen, genetic evaluations of museum animals, peer reviewed 20th and 21st century research on various aspects of our "Wild America" as well as subjective commentary from expert and layman alike. All of the above being revealed and discussed with the underlying goal of one day seeing our Continent rewilded.....Where big enough swaths of open space exist with connective corridors to other large forest, meadow, mountain, valley, prairie, desert and chaparral wildlands.....Thereby enabling all of our historic fauna, including man, to live in a sustainable and healthy environment. - Blogger Rick

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Sunday, April 27, 2014

12 Ocelots(how sad we have to report on this type #) roam the Laguna Atascosa National Wildlife Reguge......Prior to European colonization, the ocelot in the United States occurred in southern Arizona, throughout much of Texas, and as far north as Arkansas and Louisiana......... As with so many of our native carnivores, habitat loss and fragmentation, road mortality and population isolation and hunting persecution by humans has seen the ocelot population in the U.S. decline dramatically to this last breeding population in Laguna Atascosa,.......With the recent birth of another female kitten, 7 males and 5 females exist in this South Texas reserve, hanging on in a patchy habitat with little room to expand out of(similar to the Pumas in Florida)............The ratio of females to males suggests the potential for population expansion if additional critical habitat is set aside for this endangered "cat" .........Thankfully the major highway that abuts the Park boundary is about to undergo construction of 8 wildlife crossings to facilitate the movement of the Ocelots and all wildlife in this region..............Room to roam, the need of all creatures on this planet of ours!

Laguna Atascosa home to female ocelot kitten

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Posted: Thursday, April 24, 2014 10:27 am

A recently trapped ocelot kitten at the Laguna Atascosa National Wildlife Refuge is a female, raising biologists’ hopes to preserve and protect the species.
The kitten was first discovered in early March from trail camera photos. At the time, biologists could not be certain of the kitten’s gender, but trapping it allowed them to check the gender and re-evaluate its age.

Ocelot biologist Hilary Swarts confirmed that the healthy female kitten is about 10-12 months old.
She was fitted with a radio collar, so her movements can be tracked as part of the ongoing program of ocelot monitoring in and around the refuge.
So far, monitoring indicates that she has remained in the general area where she was photographed and trapped.
Laguna Atascosa National Wildlife Refuge in green shaded area

“It means she survived much longer and is more likely to become a breeding adult, adding to the population,” Swarts said.
Although Swarts said there are no signs of pregnancy in the females right now there is still a chance.
Of the 12 identified ocelots at the refuge, the discovery of this kitten brings the female population to five, with seven males.
“Their numbers are limited and this cat adds to the population,” Ranger Marion Mason said.
Wildlife biologists are continuing to increase habitat for ocelots by planting native thorn scrub seedlings on land formerly cleared for agriculture.
In the event that ocelots leave the refuge in search of habitat or mates, FM106 will soon undergo major construction that will include eight wildlife crossings to allow ocelots and other wildlife to safely cross under roads and prevent deaths from vehicles, as well as protect the safety of drivers.
Laguna Atascosa National Wildlife Refuge
Link to the Official Refuge Website - Laguna Atascosa National Wildlife Refuge

Known as the last great habitat in south Texas, the Laguna Atascosa National Wildlife Refuge (NWR) supports a diversity of wildlife unlike anywhere else in the United States.

A dense entanglement of thorns, home to the endangered ocelot, eases its way into an open prairie landscape where white-tailed deer can be found browsing. A look above often produces a silhouette of an aplomado falcon on the hunt. In the fall, a million redhead ducks can be seen replenishing themselves on the fresh waters of the Laguna Atascosa, for which the Refuge was named. Across the mainland, over the Laguna Madre and onto South Padre Island, the Laguna Atascosa NWR provides important habitat for nesting sea turtles, clapper rails, blue crab, and many other species.

Established in 1946, the 97,007 acre Refuge is home to more documented species of birds than any other National Wildlife Refuge in the United States



Leopardus pardalis
Biome: Great Southwest
Classification: Mammals

Biography: Twice the size of an average house cat, the ocelot is a sleek 
animal with a gorgeous dappled coat. Shy and elusive, their spotted coats
 make them very well camouflaged for blending into their surroundings, and
 they seem to mysteriously disappear into the shadows of their dense habitat. 

These largely nocturnal cats use keen eyesight and hearing to
 hunt rabbits,
 rodents, snakes, fish and frogs, young deer and peccaries, 
iguanas and 
other lizards. Although Ocelots pursue prey primarily on the 
ground, they
 will occasionally take to the trees and stalk monkeys or birds. 
 Like other
 cats, ocelots are carnivores and are adapted for eating meat.
 They have
 pointed fangs used to deliver a killing bite, and sharp back
 teeth that can 
tear food like scissors. Ocelots do not have teeth appropriate 
for chewing,
 so they tear their food to pieces and swallow it whole. Their
 raspy tongues
 can clean a bone of every last tasty morsel.

The ocelot in the United States once occurred in southern

 throughout much of Texas, and as far north as Arkansas 
and Louisiana.
 As a result of habitat loss and fragmentation, road mortality
 and population
 isolation, the ocelot population in the U.S. has declined 
dramatically. In the
 U.S., they are found only in southern Texas (primarily the
 Laguna Atascosa
 Wildlife Refuge); and it is estimated that there are less 
than 40 individuals
 left in that state. The ocelot is at high risk of extinction in
 the U.S. They were 
listed as endangered species in 1982. Ocelots are 
protected in the United 
States and most other countries where they live.

Ocelots are known to inhabit a variety of different types

 of habitats. 
 These range from the dense thorn scrub of the Rio 
Grande Valley in
 Texas to the tropical forests of South America. Ocelots 
are also known
 to live in the mountainous regions of Central America
 and the Andes. 
Their main requirement seems to be the presence of 
dense cover.

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