The ocelot is a feline from America with a similar appearance to the jaguar but smaller. It is one of the main predators in its habitat, and ranges from the southern United States to the southernmost regions of Brazil and Paraguay. However, despite the fact that its habitat covers such a wide region, it is currently listed as an endangered species. In fact, depending on the areas to which we refer, the state of the ocelot can go from being a minor concern to being in a state of serious threat. If you want to know more about this animal, as well as why the ocelot is in danger of extinction , keep reading AgroCorrn and we will explain it to you.
- Main characteristics of the ocelot
- Habitat and adaptability of the ocelot
- Causes that the ocelot is in danger of extinction
- How to protect and help endangered ocelots
Main characteristics of the ocelot
The ocelot, whose scientific name is Leopardus pardalis , and which according to the region is also popularly known as jaguarcito, jaguatirica, manigordo, tigrillo or cunaguaro , is the largest feline in America after the jaguar and puma. It is considered a medium-sized feline, with a length that can range from 70 to 90 centimeters, and with a weight that is usually around 11 kilos. It has a short coat, which can be reminiscent of the leopard because of its brown color on the back and white on the belly, as well as the black mottling that covers most of its body.
It is a carnivorous animal , which feeds on prey of all kinds of smaller or equal size than itself. In fact, in their natural habitat, in addition to the jaguar and the puma, the only other predators that can pose a threat to this animal are the boa and the harpy eagle, which usually attack young and easier to catch specimens.
Habitat and adaptability of the ocelot
One of the main characteristics that make the ocelot very successful in its evolution has been its easy adaptability to a multitude of terrains and habitats . In fact, this explains why its original geographic extent is so wide. At present, specimens can be found from the state of Texas to the southern regions of Brazil and Paraguay, as well as on the Caribbean coast of Mexico as well as Central America and the other South American countries that we find from Colombia to northern Argentina.
This is because, unlike other felines such as the jaguar or puma, due to its smaller size, it adapts very well to most ecosystems. This means that ocelots can be found both in environments such as the Amazon rainforest, as well as in mountainous or semi-desert areas .
Causes that the ocelot is in danger of extinction
However, despite its high adaptability to different American ecosystems and its wide distribution throughout the continent’s geography, the ocelot is currently threatened . This is due to various causes, although, in all cases, human action is behind the decline in its population. Some of the main causes that the ocelot is in danger of extinction are the following:
- Poaching: this is, perhaps, the main cause of all. The ocelot is a prey highly valued as a “trophy” by poachers and, although its hunting is prohibited in most of the countries where it is present, even today it has not been possible to stop this scourge that threatens to extinguish this feline.
- Illegal trade: directly associated with poaching, the trade in their fur is another cause we have to mention. Their fur is considered a luxury item on the black market, which means that large amounts of money are paid for it, which is all the more reason why poaching continues to increase.
- Destruction of their habitat: on the other hand, deforestation for agricultural or urban purposes is another cause that favors the danger of extinction of the ocelot. By destroying its natural habitat , it also destroys most of the species that constitute the ocelot’s diet, forcing it to have to move to other areas in search of food.
- Fragmentation of its habitat: directly linked to the destruction of its habitat, its fragmentation is also another cause behind the decline in its population. The ocelot is an animal that needs an extensive territory in which to move to find food. Due to this, if the areas in which they live are fragmented (for example by the construction of a highway) their ability to find food is diminished. For this reason, although suitable areas for their normal development are preserved, it is also necessary that the different areas of their habitat are communicated with each other.
How to protect and help endangered ocelots
It is vital to protect animals in this bad situation, but if you have doubts about the reasons, we invite you to read this other AgroCorrn article on Why it is important to protect endangered animals .
In this case, some of the measures we can take to protect endangered ocelots are:
- Be more ecological, reducing the consumption of some products, reusing products and objects and recycling, etc.
- Use public transportation or clean transportation (walking, cycling, rollerblading, etc.).
- Collaborate with associations, organizations and governments to combat the illegal trafficking of species and thus stop poaching.
- Always report cases of illegal species trafficking and poaching that we know about.
- Inform us to raise awareness and know what we can do at the local level, consulting with the town hall of the area in which we reside, and help raise awareness among children.
- If we go on an excursion or travel through the areas inhabited by ocelots, it is vital that we do not litter, we do not eliminate plants, etc., because we must remember that garbage not only pollutes, but can also cause a fire.
If you want to read more articles similar to Why is the ocelot in danger of extinction , we recommend that you enter our category of Endangered Animals .
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