On April 11th, 2010 an ocelot cub joined the Emperor Valley Zoo (EVZ) family. The birth came in the wake of extensive reintroduction efforts currently underway at the Zoo’s Manzanilla offsite facility: the Brigand Hill Animal Rehabilitation Keep (BH-ARK).
Ocelots, commonly known as ‘tiger cats’, are a globally endangered species and are listed in Appendix 1 of the CITES Convention. They are carnivorous animals and the only wildcat species in Trinidad. These nocturnal predators therefore occupy the top of the food chain, locally, in the wild. Often hunted for their luxurious coat and for meat, ocelot populations have waned considerably over the years, even though they are protected under the Conservation of Wildlife Act. Even though it is illegal to hunt or keep ocelots as pets, exploitative activities continue.
This newborn cub brings fresh hope that ocelots may once again repopulate our rain forests. It is the goal of the Zoological Society to mitigate losses to the local gene pool through conservation, breeding and reintroduction efforts. As of now, the fate of the newborn is rich with promise.