New Endearing Ocelot Kitten also an Endangered Species
This adorable, new ocelot kitten was born at the Zoo on December 27, 2016. Its birth was a “purr”fect start to a new year at the Zoo and a roaring addition to its species, namely because less than 100 ocelots exist in the wild, including some that have been spotted in south Texas.
The Zoo keepers named the male kitten Ignacio (Igg-NAH-see-o), born to 12-year-old mom Pinga and 12-year-old dad Pitu. This birth celebrates the fifth offspring born to Pinga and Pitu at the Zoo. Ignacio will be off public view for several weeks as he bonds with mom. The kitten’s caretakers also want to ensure he is strong enough to safely navigate the climbing structures in his habitat at Cat Forest before he joins mom outside.
Earlier this month, the Zoo’s veterinary care team gave the kitten his first wellness exam at which time they were able to determine his weight--a whole pound! And his latest weight is already at two pounds. Adult ocelots range in size from 18 to 40 pounds, so the little guy still has some growing to do.
“Welcoming this kitten is a wonderful way to start a new year,” said Laura Bottaro, Zoological curator. “These beautiful cats are endangered and this birth marks a significant contribution to the conservation of its species.”
The Zoo participates in the Ocelot Species Survival Plan (SSP) through the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA), a planned breeding effort that promotes the survivability of this endangered species. The SSP strives to ensure a healthy, genetically diverse and demographically varied population through breeding programs among AZA-accredited zoos.
While ocelots generally populate South and Central America as well as Mexico, they have been detected in southern parts of the United States, including Texas. However, sightings in the U.S. are uncommon as this rare species remains endangered.
You can “spot” our young ocelot kitten on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. The Zoo will be sharing updated photos and video as he grows.