Endangered Ocelot

This is Passport to Texas

Ocelots once roamed throughout Texas, Mexico, and into Arkansas and Louisiana. Jody Mays says today, only a few survive in the thick brush and shelters of the Lower Rio Grande Valley.

As far as we know, there less than 100 ocelots left in the United States. The ocelot’s range has disappeared, and now they only occur in the southern most tip of Texas, and that’s the only place in the whole United States that they occur.

Mays is a Wildlife Biologist at Laguna Atascosa Natural Wildlife Refuge. She explains reasons for the population decline.

Usually with an endangered species, you have multiple impacts that they get hit with. For the ocelot, the biggest one was the habitat loss. Some estimates say that over 95% of the native habitat in Texas has been altered. A lot of the thick habitats have been cleared for agriculture, and for development, and for other purposes. Another associated impact with that is habitat fragmentation, and that’s where, you say, have one large piece of thick habitat that gets cut up into smaller pieces that are farther and farther apart. Loss of genetic diversity is another big issue, and that’s as a result of this habitat loss and fragmentation.

That’s our show for today…supported by the Wildlife Restoration Program… helping to fund the operations and management of more than 50 wildlife management areas…

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

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