A wildlife refuge in South Texas is home to a rarely seen ocelot den. The discovery of the den site is the first of its kind on the refuge in 20 years.
KVEO-TV reports biologists at Laguna Atascosa National Wildlife Refuge found the den by tracking an 11-year-old female fitted with a tracking collar. Upon reaching the den, they discovered a three-week-old, one-pound male kitten.
Ocelots in the United States are decreasing in numbers, but this past year has seen exceptional growth in the population. Officials have detected another three kittens in the Laguna Atascosa Refuge, and another four in the Yturria Conservation Easement, including a pair of twins.
Rising birth rates in the past year are a boon to the ocelot population, which had been declining in recent years. Busy roads being were causing the decline in the Texas ocelot population. Officials have begun placing fencing near roads in an attempt to combat the losses.
Ocelots are native to Central and South America and live Arizona and South Texas. There are around 100 ocelots left in the US, and most of them live in the Rio Grande Valley.