The federal government has agreed to study how to prevent its predator elimination program from inadvertently killing an endangered wild cat living in Arizona and Texas.
The settlement announced Tuesday between the Department of Agriculture and two environmental groups requires the department to analyze the effects of its predator program in Arizona on ocelots. The brown-spotted cat can grow up to four feet long and weigh 35 pounds.
The program uses traps, snares and poisons such as cyanide to kill coyotes, bobcats, bears and other predators. The agency killed 2.7 million animals last year, including 475,000 in Texas and nearly 4,600 in Arizona.
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There are fewer than 100 ocelots in the two states, and they've been listed as endangered since 1982. They also live in Mexico and central America.