The ocelot is listed as a federally endangered animal. In the United States, ocelots were historically found throughout Texas and into Arkansas and Louisiana. Today, fewer than 80 of these native wild cats are estimated to be left in the U.S., all of which are found in South Texas. These animals live exclusively in thorn scrub habitat and their habitat and thus their populations are diminishing rapidly. Habitat loss and getting hit by cars are the greatest threats to their long-term survival.
Download the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s Ocelot Fact Sheet to learn about their history, threats, recovery efforts and what you can do to help keep the ocelot in Texas. (Download PDF)
The Animal Health Department at the Gladys Porter Zoo is actively involved in assisting U.S. Fish and Wildlife Services with ocelot health monitoring at Laguna Atascosa National Wildlife Refuge (LANWR). When an ocelot is trapped, a GPZ veterinarian will go to LANWR to give the ocelot a physical exam and full medical work-up. This includes a battery of testing to determine overall health and to detect internal and external parasites and infectious diseases.
The Gladys Porter Zoo also supports and is active in the Bi-national Ocelot Recovery Project. For more information on ocelots and LANWR visit: www.friendsofsouthtexasrefuges.org.