The Buffalo Zoo recently announced the birth of their newest Brazilian Ocelot kitten. The adorable little male was born on November 17 to mom, Ayla (age 6), and dad, Pedro (age 12).
The Zoo has been sharing sweet videos, via social media, of the new guy at play, but one thing has been missing…a name! Keepers compiled a list of four potential names and recently asked the public to assist in the voting. The four possible monikers were: Javiar, Nico, Pablo, and Tacito.
The contest recently ended, and the final votes were tallied. The winning name, with 68% of the votes, is…Nico!
Nico is the second kitten born to Ayla and Pedro. Their first offspring was born in 2013.
Learn more about Nico’s mom Ayla, and the work being done to help save this beautiful species, in this past ZooBorns article: “Brazilian Ocelot Births Help Conservation and Research” .
Brazilian Ocelots (Leopardus pardalis mitis) are becoming increasingly endangered in their native habitat due to human population growth and associated habitat loss and fragmentation. They have been classified as ‘Vulnerable’ by the Brazilian government using IUCN Red List criteria. The Association of Zoos & Aquariums (AZA) established its first Species Survival Plans (SSP) for small-field cats, including the Ocelot, in 2001.
The Ocelot is medium-sized and similar to the Bobcat in physical proportions. They are between 55 and 100 cm (22 and 39 in) in length and can weigh between 8–16 kilograms (18–35 lb), as an adult.
The species is active around twilight (crepuscular) and at night (nocturnal). However, it can be seen occasionally hunting in daytime as well.
Ocelots may mate at any time of the year, and the time when peaks occur varies geographically. A typical litter of one to three is born after a gestational period of 79 to 82 days. Births take place in dens, usually located in dense vegetation. A new kitten typically weighs 200–340 grams (7.1–12.0 oz).
The kitten’s eyes open after about 15 to 18 days of birth. The offspring begin to leave the den at three months, but they will remain with their mother for up to two years, before dispersing to establish their own territory. Ocelots have been known to live for up to 20 years in captivity.
Small sized cats, including the Ocelot, have been severely neglected in both scientific and conservation circles, with little information on their natural history or conservation status in the wild. Population projections indicate that several small cat species, including the Ocelot, will see their genetic diversity reduced to dangerously low levels in zoos within the next 50 years.