Posted by: Loren Coleman on July 28th, 2010
The known ranges of South and Middle American cats are changing. Trailcams are proving it.
Recent records of the ocelot (Leopardus pardalis) are indicating they are being newly seen in northern Mexico and in Arizona. There is evidence that they are extending their range much farther north than in past years.
Remote cameras captured the image of an ocelot, a rare tropical cat, in Cochise County, Arizona. Sky Island Alliance, a Tucson-based regional conservation organization, recently photographed the cat while participating in the Witness for Wildlife program, which is supported by the Freedom to Roam Coalition and Patagonia, the outdoor clothing company.
Sky Island Alliance sets remote cameras to unobtrusively observe wildlife and assess wildlife corridors in Arizona’s Sky Island region. Last week, volunteer citizen naturalists participating in the Witness for Wildlife program retrieved images from one of the remote cameras in Cochise County. The image of the ocelot was dated November 7, 2009.
Taken by a remote camera, this remarkable photograph is the first verifiable record of this elusive wild feline alive in Arizona. Although a small number of ocelots live in south Texas, ocelots have never before been recorded alive in Arizona. Additionally, this record from Arizona places ocelots over 200 miles north in latitude from where they are found in Texas.
Ocelot in the snow, Sonora, Mexico.
Furthermore, jaguar (Panthera onca) sightings in northern Mexico are occurring too (credit Sky Island Alliance).
A collared jaguar nicknamed Macho B is seen in this February 2009 photo provided by the Arizona Game and Fish Department. On Feb. 18, 2009, Macho B, who has been documented by tracking cameras since 1996, was inadvertently snared by an Arizona Game and Fish Department trap. The jaguar later died in another trapping incident. (Photo: Arizona Game and Fish Department)