Archive for June 12th, 2009

Endangered Ocelots, 2

Friday, June 12th, 2009

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

Texas is the only US state with suitable Ocelot habitat.

The habitat that ocelots use is extremely dense brush. The type of brush that not only can you not see through it, you can’t walk through it.

Dr. Michael Tewes (two-ES) researches wild cats with the Caesar Kleberg Wildlife Research Institute.

The main problem for ocelots now is, like many other endangered species, the lack of suitable habitat. There are less than 100 of them remaining in Texas and less than 1% of Texas has that very special habitat or cover type that they use. And since most of Texas is owned and managed by private landowners and ranchers, it is in their ability to protect the habitat that is vital to the recovery of ocelots.

Fewer ocelots mean less genetic diversity.

When the populations are as small as they are in Southern Texas, almost any kind of a wildlife population will start to decrease genetic diversity and tend to go towards extinction. We have been working on revising the recovery plan and, although it’s not finalized, translocation is suggested as a tool. The genetic diversity is much greater in Mexico than it is in Texas. And by bringing them into Texas it would help alleviate some of the problems that come with genetic erosion.

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 like the ocelot.

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