Introducing camera trapping series. A powerful tool to show you what’s behind our protected forest.
On todays exciting glimpse, THE OCELOT.
The ocelot, or Leopardus pardalis, is the largest member of the Leopardus species. It weighs between 8.5 and 16 kg, is between 65 and 97 cm long and males are significantly larger than females. It lives in Central and South America, but it has also been sighted in the United States.
The term ocelot derives from the Aztec word ‘tlalocelot’, which means ‘tiger of the fields’, and the Aztecs, along with many other indigenous cultures of the region, honoured this wild cat and revered it for its hunting prowess and beauty.
They are often confused with leopards or jaguars, but they have a much smaller physique and a golden coat characterised by the presence of spots, also known as ‘rosettes’, ranging from dark brown to black, and a tail with ring spots.
They do prefer warm climates and densely wooded areas and they have excellent eyesight to hunt during the night. It is nocturnal and crepuscular and it could be found asleep during the day, probably in hollow trees, or awake preparing for the hunt.
Like many cats, Leopardus pardalis is solitary, it usually travels alone and it communicates to attracts potential mates by meowing.
It is also adept at climbing, jumping and swimming. It is active for more than 12 hours a day, during which it can cover 1.8 to 6.7 km, with males covering almost twice as much distance as females.
Due to their popularity in the fur trade in the West, ocelots were almost extinct by the mid-1980s. Concern about their potential extinction contributed to the formation of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) in 1975. The sale of a ocelot fur decreased significantly in the 1980s and is no longer considered a threat to their survival.
Today, due to its abundance and wide distribution, the ocelot is listed as a species of ‘least concern’ according to the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species, and the main threats to its persistence are habitat loss and fragmentation, illegal pet and fur trade, and retaliatory killing by poultry farmers.
Camera Trap Footage: Carbon Credits Consulting/ Selva de Urundel, Salta – Yungas / REDD+ projects
Source: IUCN RED LIST/ Center For Biological Diversity/ Museo di Zoologia dell’Università del Michigan