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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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Friday, December 30, 2016

Once ranging from Southern Calif across to Arkansas and Louisiana, we are today left with 80 to 100 Ocelots in South Texas...........On private ranch land known as the Yturria Conservation Easement, 4 Ocelot kittens were born in April...........Outside of this easement, there were three more mother Ocelots with kittens at the Laguna Ataxcosa National Wildlife Refuge.............Biologists have renewed optimism that if the wildlife culverts that are being discussed for the highways that run through this region are created, then the rare Ocelot might have a chance at long term persistence in the USA......

Rare Ocelot 

Kittens Caught 

on Camera

Biologists were overjoyed to find

 the healthy babies, 

including a “breathtaking” male 

cub in its den on

 a wildlife refuge.

Using GPS technology and camera traps, biologists
 were thrilled to find rare litters of ocelot kittens
 and a den site—the first found for the small wild
 cats in a South Texas refuge in nearly two decades.

Hilary Swarts, a wildlife biologist for the U.S. Fish
 and Wildlife Service, says the kittens were spotted 
in April at two separate locations, though the news
 was released just last week.
The researchers detected four ocelot kittens on the
 owned ranch land that is protected in perpetuity as
 a home for wildlife.
“[At the easement], we detected three moms with 
litters, and one of those moms had twins, which is 
not typical and was incredibly exciting for us,”

And at the Laguna Atascosa National Wildlife
 south of the easement, camera traps revealed three
 more mother ocelots with healthy kittens. Seven 
known females currently live on the reserve.
“Our seventh female is the one where we actually
 found the den site and found the 400-gram—
less than a pound—little boy, who was
 breathtaking,” Swarts says.
According to the GPS collar data from the mom,
 the site was the second den used for the same 
“That is very typical,” Swarts says. “The mom 
will have the kitten in one spot and stay there
 for two or three weeks before moving them 
to another spot for two or three weeks.”
Theories as to why ocelots might move den
 sites include evading predators or avoiding 
infestation from fleas and ticks.


The news of these adorable kittens is 
welcome in South Texas, where biologists
 have identified about 50 of the wildcats by 
their coat patterns. A statewide estimate
 currently falls anywhere between 80 to 100
 total ocelots.

While the small cats roam throughout South and 
Central America, they are considered endangered
 in Texas. In the United States, ocelots used to range
 as far east as Arkansas and Louisiana, but today 
only a small subpopulation lives in the wild in the
 Lone Star State, and about 95 percent of their 
original habitat has been cleared, Swarts says. 
“That clearing means that some of those areas 
are fragmented from each other, so to get from
 one habitat to another, they have to pass
 through human nature,” Swarts says. 
“That leads to the other big threat: getting hit 
by cars.”
Genetic isolation, which leads to reduced 
genetic diversity, is also problematic for
 ocelots and brings its own set of issues, 
like reduced disease resistance.
Ultimately, though, Swarts is optimistic: 
“What was so great with seeing the burst
 of kittens this year—though from a 
statistical perspective, it is impossible
 to say whether there was a bumper crop
 or not—[is that] they’re doing their job, 
which is to produce more ocelots, and
 we have been making some good stride
s as far as reducing threats.”

Rare ocelot found in Arizona



Wildlife crossings in South 

Texas to help protect ocelots

The plan is for chain-link fencing along FM 106 and
 State Highway 100 in Willacy County to funnel 
ocelots to the underpasses, allowing them to bypass
 the highways safely.
This Nov. 18, 2016 photo, shows an underpass on FM 106, one of several being added to the highway near Laguna Atascosa National Wildlife Refuge, that wildlife experts hope will reduce ocelot-vehicle collisions, the leading cause of ocelot deaths in South Texas. The underpass measures about 8 feet wide by 6 feet high. Note the two "rails" along the sides designed to allow the ocelots to walk through without getting their feet wet. (Rick Kelley/Valley Morning Star via AP)

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