It has now been five months since an ocelot cub was born at the Emperor Valley Zoo. The male cub now known among the zookeepers as “Rufus” is strong and healthy. A wonderful addition to the Zoo’s collection of ocelots, “Rufus” has developed quite well; his coat has a fresh vibrant shine while his eyes sparkles of curiosity and excitement.
Unlike “Patches” our petting zoo ocelot, “Rufus” is more temperamental. Upon monitoring this marvelous creature it was observed that this cub prefers minimal human interactions as possible. “Rufus” has in short embraced his natural instinct of being a wild animal, which is projected in his behaviour.
Ocelots are one of the smaller of the wildcat family and the only wildcat species that inhabit our beautiful country. Wherever they occur, they are usually hunted for their meat and the lush coat that embodies this species. However they are endangered animals in Trinidad and are therefore protected, which means that it is illegal to kill or harbor one as a pet.
“Rufus” was since taken away from his mother as it was observed she was not attaining sufficient nutrient. He now stays in a keep by himself until maturity when he will be placed in the breeding programme at the Zoo’s offsite facility: the Brigand Hill Animal Rehabilitation Keep (BH-ARK) at Manzanilla. This programme is geared towards the reintroduction of captive-bred and rehabilitated animals into the wild in their natural habitat.