CINCINNATI, OH (November 15, 2023) – An formidable restoration program for wild ocelots in Texas is being carried out with help of the Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Backyard and several other different zoos accredited by the Affiliation of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA). Texas ocelots are extremely endangered with simply 60 to 80 wild cats surviving in fragmented habitats close to the southern Mexican border. To help with species restoration, the Cincinnati Zoo and three zoo companions (Oklahoma Metropolis Zoo and Botanical Gardens, San Antonio Zoo, Audubon Zoo) have established a Saving Animals From Extinction (SAFE) program for ocelots beneath AZA steering.
“SAFE Ocelot will present a possible lifeline to Texas ocelots by broadening their genetic range, rising their numbers and supporting their restoration within the wild,” stated Dan Ashe, AZA’s President and Chief Government Officer. “For different endangered native species like black-footed ferrets, California condors and Mexican wolves, animals managed beneath human care have been important for inhabitants restoration and the identical could maintain true for America’s final wild ocelots”.
For the restoration program, SAFE Ocelot is working in partnership with a number of stakeholders, together with the East Basis, Texas A&M College, Duquesne College, United States Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) and Texas Parks and Wildlife Division.
As one part, a devoted breeding and rewilding facility for ocelots will start building quickly in South Texas, with funding supplied by non-public donors. As soon as the ability is accomplished, SAFE Ocelot will coordinate the switch of ocelots from zoos and supply husbandry and reproductive administration steering to optimize their breeding with native Texas ocelots.
The AZA’s Ocelot Species Survival Plan (SSP), coordinated by the Cincinnati Zoo’s Laura Carpenter, at the moment manages 64 (non-Texas) ocelots in 40 zoos that can comprise a part of the supply breeding inhabitants. Their offspring, after habituation to predatory dwelling within the rewilding facility, finally shall be launched onto an enormous East Basis ranch property that lies throughout the historic, however at the moment unpopulated, pure vary of Texas ocelots.
“The information and experience of zoo curators, keepers, veterinarians and scientists are important for the profitable propagation of ocelots beneath human take care of this restoration program,” stated the Cincinnati Zoo’s Dr. Invoice Swanson, the SAFE Ocelot Program Chief. “Zoos have been breeding and managing ocelots for over 20 years throughout the Ocelot SSP and that have has created the framework to use related approaches to help Texas ocelot restoration”.
Two different key steps taken over the previous few months will assist to make sure the success of this restoration program. First, the East Basis has submitted a Secure Harbor Settlement (SHA) proposal to the USFWS for his or her overview. If authorised, the SHA will permit ocelots to be launched onto East Basis lands with out federal restrictions on cattle ranching or different agricultural practices, prioritizing ocelot conservation whereas persevering with with conventional ranch actions. Second, Texas A&M College-Kingsville just lately was awarded a multi-year, $12.2 million contract by USFWS for ocelot restoration efforts with a number of the funding directed to the Cincinnati Zoo, East Basis and Texas A&M College Pure Sources Institute. The zoo-dedicated funds will help enhancements to ocelot breeding amenities inside zoos, genetic evaluation of the supply inhabitants and utility of assisted reproductive sciences to ocelot propagation.
Extra details about the Texas ocelot restoration program is on the market at https://recovertexasocelots.org.