92 / 75
      87 / 74
      85 / 72

      Nature Report: Ocelot Fatalities Part 2

      Four rare ocelots have been killed on State Highway 100 between Laguna Vista and Los Fresnos in the past several years with the most recent fatality being a male ocelot killed just two months ago. Less than 50 endangered ocelots are thought to remain in the wild, and when they attempt to cross-busy Highway 100 from one section of brushy habitat to another they are very vulnerable, particularly because of an impenetrable concrete barrier separating lanes of traffic. Hilary Swarts says, Ocelot Biologist, United States Fish and Wildlife Service, "So in the best case scenario for state route 100 we would like to see wildlife crossing put in underneath the roadway in the areas where we know there is one patch of brush on one side connecting to another patch of brush on the other side." Wildlife crossings, like this on one Highway 48 near the Port of Brownsville, are what is needed and extensive monitoring of radio-collared cats has shown biologists where several of these crossing need to be constructed on Highway 100. Octavio Saenz says, Public Information Officer for Texas Department of Transportation, "We know that these under the road crossing are ideal, but they are expensive|When we look at retrofitting crossings on SH I00. We are looking at a million dollars per crossing." The wildlife crossings would also benefit other creatures and protect motorists from having accidents as they attempt to dodge wildlife. Saenz says, "It is a Texas treasure that we value, and we understand the concerns that US Fish and Wildlife has|For something like this we need to find some other discretionary funds that is the bottom line." With your Nature Report I'm Richard Moore