Woodland Park Zoo
“Ocelots are still in high demand for the fur industries in Europe and Asia, which leads to abuse of the already existing laws protecting ocelots and other small cats,” the zoo says on its blog. “Ocelot numbers are also decreasing rapidly as a result of habitat destruction and the black market pet trade.”
Threatened throughout their entire range from Argentina to the United States, ocelots are also becoming exceedingly rare in several areas. In the U.S., the zoo notes, ocelots once ranged throughout the southwest from Arizona to Louisiana, “yet now less than 100 ocelots are estimated to be left in the U.S.”
The kittens born at Woodland Park Zoo, named Novia and Corisandra, are the first offspring for mother Bella, 7 years old, and father Brazil, 12 years old.
The zoo hopes to have the kittens on public exhibit in the next couple of weeks.
“The mother and kittens have remained off public exhibit to allow for continued nursing and bonding in a quiet environment,” the zoo said in a statement yesterday. “Over the past couple of months, the kittens have increasingly spent more time outside of the birthing den. In preparation for the kittens’ move to the public exhibit, zookeepers have helped promote the necessary motor and exploratory skills for proper growth and development through off-exhibit climbing structures and a variety of enrichment activities.”
Video: Woodland Park Zoo ocelot kittens:
Woodland Park Zoo participates in the Ocelot Species Survival Plan, a cooperative breeding program that works to ensure genetic diversity and demographic stability in North American zoos and aquariums.