Save the Last Wild Ocelots


Target: Congressman Filemon Vela, Texas’ 34th District representative

Goal: To urge elected officials to preserve Texas’ few remaining wild ocelots

The current population of wild ocelots in the United States is thought to be around only 50 animals, down from 100 in 2004. The ocelots’ population decline is attributed to massive loss of habitat in southern Texas. The survival of these amazing wild cats depends on the cooperation of elected officials, landowners and conservation groups.

Initial steps have been taken to save these ocelots, with some non-profit and government groups already working together to protect shrinking habitats. A recent National Geographic article stated that “95 percent of the cats’ native habitat in the U.S. has been converted to agriculture or become urban sprawl.” With so much of the the animals’ natural habitat now privately owned it is imperative that more landowners support the struggle to save the ocelot.

There have been other commendable efforts, but they require additional congressional support in order to ensure the species’ survival. Several ocelots have recently been struck and killed by vehicles. To address this the Texas Department of Transportation is constructing eight underpasses as wild ocelot crossings. Non-profit groups like the Environmental Defense Fund have helped broker agreements between landowners and conservationists to keep the species from disappearing from Texas. Researchers from Texas A&M University have worked closely with agencies like Texas Parks and Wildlife and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to develop incentives for landowners that agree to help protect the ocelots’ shrinking habitat.

With so few wild ocelots left in the United States it is crucial that elected representatives use their influence to urge ranchers and landowners to protect these cats’ habitat. Congressman Vela of the 34th Congressional District not only represents the region, but also has a seat on the House Agriculture Committee. Call on him to use this power and influence to rally ranchers, farmers and other landowners to help save  the last wild ocelots.


Dear Congressman Vela,

The last surviving ocelots in the United States–including some that live in your district– are currently in danger. Cameron County and some of the surrounding regions have seen ocelot populations shrink drastically, with only 50 animals now left in the wild. Despite the efforts of several groups to halt this decline, the major deterrent to the survival of these amazing wild cats is lack cooperation from private landowners.

Collaboration between farm and ranch owners, politicians and conservationists can truly make a difference. This cooperation is possible and in many cases already happening. Groups like the Environmental Defense Fund and agencies like Texas Parks and Wildlife have already provided some incentives for landowners to work together to save the ocelot, and their efforts need and deserve your congressional support.

To see the last few wild ocelots disappear from the United States would be a great tragedy. You have the power to influence, inform and educate the landowners of your district to help save these wild cats. You also have a duty as a public official to look out for the long-term health of your state, including by supporting crucial conservation efforts. As an active member of the House Agriculture Committee and the Subcommittee on Livestock, Rural Development, and Credit I urge you to use your influence to support these and other efforts to save the ocelots’ vital habitat.


[Your Name Here]

Photo credit: Tom Smylie via US Fish & Wildlife Service

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  1. Guy Smith says:

    We CAN NOT Afford to lose any more of these top predators, and ought to MAKE SURE that Every effort be made to help them to survive, in the wild, and to STOP ALL FUTURE Land development on any land that is likely to be suitable habitat for these wonderful animals!!!!!

  2. Anne GRice says:

    Some humans have lost their abilities to understand right from evil wrong when it comes to animal preservation and protection. Loosing these few Ocelots would be the most indecent destructive immoral acts of animal destruction for no good sense. This would be a travesty of injustice to these gorgeous cats we have been so luck to grace our miserable lands and now you think that its rational to make them disappear. This is outrageous and unacceptable and must stop. Protect their habitat and keep humans far away from them!


  4. Jane Morrow says:

    Damn over-breeding humans, farmers, ranchers etc. ruining it for every other living thing on the planet again. These beautiful little cats must be protected and allowed to exist peacefully as nature intended. Nothing else is more valuable or precious than wild things in wild places.

  5. Laura Clarke says:

    Do not allow these animals to disappear. Take responsibility for your actions and choices and think about the implications beyond profit, materialism and greed.

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