An incredibly rare birth was recorded at the Dallas Zoo earlier this summer when an ocelot kitten was born to new parents on June 26.
The kitten, Lindy, was born to mom Milagre, age 4, and dad Joaquin, age 5, as part of the Ocelot Species Survival Plan. The OSSP is a conservation and breeding program designed to ensure the survival of the endangered Texas predator -- of which only 50 are believed to be left in the wild.
According to the Dallas Zoo, ocelots are small, spotted, secretive cats that are mostly nocturnal. Ocelots were once hunted for their pelts and numbers of the animal continue to dwindle today due to a reduction of their habitat and inbreeding, officials said. They are slightly larger than the largest of house cats with females weighing about 20 pounds and males topping out at about 30 pounds. The feline is one of the top predators in the state and prefers a diet of small mammals, lizards, amphibians, fish and birds.
“The birth of this kitten is reason to celebrate,” said Lynn Kramer, D.V.M., vice president of animal operations and welfare at the Dallas Zoo. “Ocelots, which are such a rich part of the natural history of Texas, face severe threats across the state. Our work with the Species
Survival Plan ensures that Texans will continue to be able to appreciate this remarkable animal.”
Lindy's mom, Milagre, came to Dallas from Connecticut's Beardsley Zoo while her dad, Joaquin, arrived in Texas by way of the Oklahoma City Zoological Park. The pair were matched up with hopes that they might hit it off and produce an offspring.
The setup worked, apparently, and Lindy is now only the third ocelot kitten to be born at the zoo in its 125-year history, and the first since 2001. Now four weeks old, she weighs about two pounds and, according to the zoo, is getting more energetic each day.
Since her birth, Lindy has stayed close to her mom in seclusion. But the Dallas Zoo on Wednesday released video of Lindy exploring the ocelot habitat. When Lindy is out regularly, she'll be visible to the public, along with her dad and Rufus the bobcat.