Tucson, AZ – The Arizona Game and Fish Department announced today that it has verified a highly probable ocelot sighting in Cochise County that occurred this morning.
Photos (including the one pictured) of the sighting were provided to the department by a homeowner around 8:30 a.m. today. Verification of the sighting included paw prints at the scene.
Game and Fish will share the image with other ocelot experts for an independent analysis to attempt to definitively determine if it is an ocelot, hybrid or other large cat, as well as compare it to photos from previous sightings to determine if it is the same or a different animal from those sightings. An ocelot was photographed in Cochise County twice this year and was identified as probably the same animal.
“We’re excited to see the continued presence of ocelots in Arizona and are anxious to see what analysis of this new photo tells us,” said Eric Gardner, nongame branch chief for Arizona Game and Fish. “The more photos we can obtain and the clearer they are, the better opportunity we’ll have to learn more about ocelot prevalence in our state.”
An ocelot in Cochise County was photographed by the Sky Island Alliance in 2009, but comparative analysis wasn’t possible due to the quality of the photo. Another ocelot was found dead by the side of a road near Globe in 2010.
The ocelot is listed as endangered under the U.S. Endangered Species Act.