Unique initiative could help ocelot population

Albuquerque News

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – The Albuquerque BioPark is taking part in the first of its kind initiative that could help ocelots. Back in July, veterinarians from the Cincinnati Zoo visited the BioPark to perform artificial insemination on Lucy the Ocelot. The donor, a wild male ocelot died after being hit by a car in Texas.

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If successful, this will be the first time kittens have been born using frozen semen from a wild ocelot. With only 60 to 80 ocelots living in their native Texas habitat, Dr. Bill Swanson with the Cincinnati Zoo says it is important for trying to manage and conserve wild ocelot populations.

“It first gets the genetics of that male into our zoo population, so we can increase the gene diversity of the ocelots that we manage within zoos by producing offspring with his sperm,” Dr. Swanson said.

The BioPark says it should know within a couple of weeks if the procedure was successful. Spokesperson Greg Jackson says if not, it was great from a science perspective and offers opportunities for the future.

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