• An Image Slideshow
  • An Image Slideshow
  • An Image Slideshow

It's a Baby!

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).

Just last year, several macaws, orange-winged Amazon parrots and yellow-headed Amazon parrots were released in stages into the wild in collaboration with the Wildlife Division, Forestry Division. These birds were captive-bred at the Zoo and later acclimatized at the BH-ARK facility. Now with the birth of this new cub—that is yet to be named— the management and staff of the ZSTT/EVZ are eager to make a positive impact on this cub’s future. 

April 13th 2010Ocelots, 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.
While the EVZ is fortunate to house nine (9) ocelots as part of its collection, the circumstances under which most of them arrived were not as fortunate. Most were victims of the illegal pet trade between Venezuela and Trinidad. As the South American sub-species is alien to Trinidad’s forests, local introduction is not a feasible option. This is just one of the many predicaments caused by the illegal pet trade. It is a lose-lose situation for both the offenders and the animals involved. 

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.