The Ocelot, found mostly in South and Central America (but also spotted in Texas), are being threatened by deforestation and destruction to their habitat. The cat can adapt to a diversity of environments, but generally prefers dense forests. The Ocelot has a small litter size and a long period of gestation. Their fur used to be considered a valuable commodity, for which hundreds of thousands were hunted and killed, before they were granted legal protection as an endangered species.
Like many endangered animals, ocelots are victims of deforestation and other forms of habitat loss. Before being afforded protected status, ocelots were also hunted for their furs. In conjunction with these problems, biological characteristics also play a part; long gestation periods and small litters make it difficult for ocelots to increase their numbers. Put together, these problems are a classic formula for endangerment.
Some times people are misinformed about large cats. They are afraid that they will kill their cattle, chickens or even their kids. They then will kill an ocelot if it gets near their house or their cattle. Most often the cat is able to find ample food in the wild, as long as there has not been a lot of habitat destruction in the area. Local people must be educated about the benefits of large cats in the environment and encouraged not to kill them.
The adult ocelots rear their young ones in thick forests, and destruction of the same habitat is responsible for reducing ocelot population. Human intervention, in terms of land encroachment for agriculture and developmental projects, is an unavoidable cause for decreasing population of this animal species.
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