Archive for June 11th, 2009

Endangered Ocelots, 1

Thursday, June 11th, 2009

Passport to Texas from Texas Parks and Wildlife and the Wildlife Restoration Program

Ocelots are small wildcats that are spotted like jaguars and leopards; some of these animals live in South Texas.

We only know of two breeding populations in Texas. They occur primarily in Southern Texas now. Historically, ocelots occurred throughout much of Central and East Texas.

And they lived along the river banks. Dr. Michael Tewes (two-ES) has researched wild cats with the Caesar Kleberg Wildlife Research Institute for 25 years. He says these beautiful animals are being driven to extinction by development, inbreeding, and habitat loss.

The population here in South Texas represents the United States population and there are less than 100 of them remaining. Therefore, they’re an endangered species. When the populations are as small as they are, almost any kind of a wildlife population will start to decrease genetic diversity and tend to go towards extinction.

Hear about the proposed recovery plan to restore the Texas Ocelot population tomorrow.

By increasing the genetic diversity of such a small population you can help reduce the amount of mortality that is increased with low genetic diversity, and increase survival and increase reproduction. There’s a stronger, vigorous population in Mexico that can be used to help augment the two populations that we have here in Texas.

That’s our show… with research and writing help from Sarah Loden… and sponsored by the Wildlife Restoration program…working to restore critical habitat for endangered species.

For Texas Parks and Wildlife…I’m Cecilia Nasti.