in the Santa Rita Mountains of southern Arizona downloaded from wildlife monitoring cameras late last year, as part of a Jaguar Survey and Monitoring Project led by the University of Arizona.
A total of ten jaguars were identified.
The unique spot pattern on the cat seen below (left) matched that of a male jaguar in the Whetstone Mountains photographed by a hunter in the fall of 2011, providing clear evidence that the big cats travel between southern Arizona’s “sky island” mountain ranges.
A new ocelot photo (showing only the hindquarters) was taken in the Huachuca Mountains by one of the UA project cameras.
Comparisons of the spot patterns revealed this to be the same male ocelot that has been reported by the Arizona Game and Fish Department and photographed in the Huachucas on the Arizona/Mexico border several times in 2011 and 2012. However, the photo was taken about 4 miles away from the previous photos, demonstrating that even the smaller cats move across the rugged landscape.
The three-year study will be accomplished under a contract with funds provided by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. The purpose of these funds is to address and mitigate environmental impacts of border-related enforcement activities.
The ocelot has been protected in the U.S. as endangered under the Endangered Species Act since 1982. The jaguar was listed in the U.S. in 1997.