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One of our goals at IEAS is to raise awareness and support for conservation efforts being made for species living at IEAS. We have a great opportunity to help a native species in Texas.
Rio, a female ocelot, is a recent addition to the IEAS family. With the ocelot being protected in the state of Texas with endangered species status, this is good opportunity for us to inform the public of what is happening with the ocelot population and what is being done to help increase their numbers.
The ocelot is wild cat that use to wander several parts of the southern states, such as Texas, Arizona, Arkansas, and Louisiana. Today, however, there are less than 50 ocelots in the United States and they rely heavily on the remnant thorn forests of South Texas. Currently, they are primarily found roaming the Laguna Atascosa National Wildlife Refuge and surrounding land.
Historically, several factors have lead to the Ocelot's decline. Deforestation, human encroachment, unregulated pet trade and the fashion industry have all contributed to their decline.
However, there is still a chance for these beautiful cats! The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Services are continuing to research the ocelots at Laguna Atascosa to determine what they need and how to further their survival for the future. They are working closely with the Texas Department of Transportation to build safe wildlife crossings for these guys, such as funnels that allow them to cross under roads so they can establish new territories and find mates. Experts in the U.S. and Mexico are also proposing translocation as a possibility to help introduce new bloodlines. Translocation would involve moving the ocelots from the Mexico to the United Stated. While all this is going on, they also set up quite a few camera traps and water locations during drought times. The photos, as well as ones from the public, help identify individual ocelots based off of their unique coat patterns, similar to finger prints, and are used to track and identify individuals.
What You Can Do To Help Ocelots and/or Wildlife in General:
IEAS truly believes that “knowledge is power,” and by teaching visitors and other animal lovers about what needs to be done for these animals, we undoubtedly empower them to make a difference!
Here at the sanctuary, we have our own ocelot representative, Rio.
The International Exotic Animal Sanctuary not only takes care of the basic needs of the residents but also offers each animal Behavioral Enrichment. This enrichment consists of boomer balls of all sizes for the animals, tennis balls for the bobcats, tires, pickles and a variety of other enrichment items. Each animal seems to have their favorite item.
For Titan, he enjoys playing with his big boomer ball. It’s amazing to watch him pull this 50 lb ball up the hill of his habitat with ease to play with it in his pool. For Odin, and most of the lions at IEAS, the truck tires seem to be the go to enrichment item. Odin will carry his tire around and keep his prized possession close by. Unfortunately, with these animals loving their toys so much, we find ourselves having to replace them quite frequently. Luckily for Odin, we are always getting truck tires donated. Just recently we replaced Odin’s tire, and he put on quite a show! For Titan, it’s a bit more tricky to replace his boomer ball as they cost Over $225 Plus Shipping each.
For those interested about those larger enrichment items:
30in Boomer Ball from Boomer Ball
30in Safari Ball from Sanctuary Supplies
Looking to help our animal residents something and unsure of what to get?
Feel free to respond to this email, or call, and we will gladly help you choose items our animal residents both deeply enjoy and benefits their individual behavioral enrichment programs.