The endangered ocelot was recently selected as the official mascot of the University of Texas at Brownsville, and this Friday the University will host its first ocelot seminar with feline researcher Arturo Caso who works with the Caesar Kleberg Wildlife Research Institute at Texas A&M Kingsville.
Caso said, "I am planning to talk about why this cat is so important and why both countries, Mexico and the United States should work together on the conservation of this species."
The thick chaparral of Deep South Texas is home to the only viable population of ocelots remaining in the United States, and researchers estimate that there are less than 80 of the rare cats.
Caso, a native of Mexico, first began studying the wild cats south of the Rio Grande more than two decades ago, and he has also done extensive field research in South Texas and elsewhere.
"I have worked with the six cat species in Mexico including the jaguar, the margay, the jaguarondi, and also I have had the opportunity to work with lions and leopards in Tanzania, Africa," he said.
Dr. Ken Pruitt with the University of Texas at Brownsville is helping to coordinate Friday afternoon's ocelot seminar, which is open to the public.
"It is going to be one o'clock in our SET B building, our science, engineering and technology building in room 2336."
"I consider the ocelot as an umbrella species. If we succeed in protecting ocelots we are also preserving other wildlife species in Texas," said Caso.