A wildlife trail camera recently captured footage of an ocelot roaming the Huachuca mountains of southeastern Arizona. The July 2023 video by wildlife hobbyist Jason Miller is exciting for conservations that hope to expand protections in the U.S.-Mexico borderlands.
“Sightings of the rare ocelot are a powerful reminder of the biological significance of the Sky Islands region of Arizona. This special place faces threats such as industrial mining and impediments to wildlife movement like the border wall,” said Dr. Sharon Wilcox, Defenders of Wildlife senior Texas representative. “It’s critical that we do all we can to protect the remaining habitat of these “border cats” like the ocelot and jaguar.”
Ocelot populations once spanned portions of the Southwestern U.S. from Arizona to Louisiana. Today, they are limited to a small breeding population of about 60 to 80 cats in South Texas and intermittent sightings in Arizona.
This is the second time in two years that Miller has caught an ocelot on camera. Miller's videos show an ocelot sniffing at the forest floor before wandering off-camera. This is believed to be the same ocelot documented in the region periodically over the past 11 years.
This is also the second time in 2023 that friends of Defenders of Wildlife have shared such a rare ocelot sighting. The first was of a mother and kitten ocelot crossing a road near the Laguna Atascosa National Wildlife Refuge in South Texas in February.