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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, February 1, 2015

Texas is taking steps to install highway culverts to help the 50 to 80 Ocelots left in the USA increase their numbers................Some increased rainfall levels have upped the bird and rodent population and thus, the Ocelots are having better luck feeding their young and keeping them alive into adulthood...............At one time ocelots were found from South Texas through parts of Arkansas and Louisiana,,,,,,likely also in New Mexico and Arizona(where the occasional "cat" has recently been spotted).

Current Sightings: Good News for ocelot population

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Posted: Friday, January 30, 2015 11:09 am
Wildlife biologist Hilary Swarts is optimistic about the South Texas ocelot population and with good reason.
The best news is that the official population estimate for the endangered feline has been upped from less than 50 to less than 80. There are now 47 known wild ocelots in the United States, she said.
The U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service biologist is lead scientist for the nation’s ocelot program and sees positive signs that ocelots may be reversing a downward trend over the past few years.
“The recent rains have been responsible for a population increase in birds and rodents, which are ocelot food, which will allow the ocelot population to grow and reproduce.” she said.
She said there are currently 12 known ocelots at Laguna Atascosa National Wildlife Refuge, including the recent discovery of a juvenile not previously known.

“The population is growing,” Swarts said.
Other steps are being taken to help the cats.
The Texas Department of Transportation is installing ocelot crossings on highways 100 and 106 with the hopes it will result in a reduction in road casualties.
“Our goal is to grow the population and reduce mortality,” Swarts said.
Ocelots are small spotted cats, slightly smaller than bobcats. There are notable differences – mainly with the tail. Ocelots have a long ringed tail about one third the cat’s body length. Bobcats have short tails.
Bobcats are much more numerous and can be found in a variety of habitats. Ocelots, which are mainly nocturnal, prefer the thick thorn brush habitat and are seldom seen.
TxDOT has published a pamphlet, “What To Do If You See An Ocelot,” that is available to the public.

Not only does it include criteria for telling the difference between ocelots and bobcats, but also what to do when an ocelot – alive or dead – is discovered. Included are numbers to call, day or night, to report sightings.
At one time ocelots were found from South Texas through parts of Arkansas and Louisiana. Urbanization and population growth have reduced the population to a few isolated pockets in South Texas. They are also found in Mexico, Central and South America.
Swarts and her team are currently trapping ocelots and fitting them with radio transmitting collars to help scientists monitor their movements and territorial needs.
Other steps being taken to help ocelots include planting native brush, installing trail cameras to find new cats and public outreach.  

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