Friday, November 21, 2008

Ocelot conservation

Posted by: Rebecca Whitham, Communications

We've been updating you frequently with behind-the-scenes photos of the two ocelot kittens. And while it's easy (and fun) to get caught up in how cute they are, it's important to remember that these kittens are also ambassadors for their endangered wild counterparts.

Ocelots are still in high demand for the fur industries in Europe and Asia, which leads to abuse of the already existing laws protecting ocelots and other small cats. Ocelot numbers are also decreasing rapidly as a result of habitat destruction and the black market pet trade. Threatened throughout their entire range, ocelots are also becoming exceedingly rare in several areas. In the U.S., ocelots once ranged throughout the southwest from Arizona to Louisiana, yet now less than 100 ocelots are estimated to be left in the U.S.

For simple ways to help save endangered species, visit our How You Can Help webpage.

Photos: Ocelots at 8 weeks, by Ryan Hawk.

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