A Margay, at Bioparque M’Bopicuá, in Uruguay, gave birth to a beautiful, healthy kitten on November 1st.
The Margay is a small cat that’s native range extends from southern Mexico, through Central America and in northern South America east of the Andes. It is very similar to the larger Ocelot in appearance, although the head is a little shorter, the eyes larger, and the tail and legs longer. The Margay is a more skillful climber than the Ocelot.
The Margay is mostly nocturnal. Their diet consists of small mammals, birds, eggs, lizards and tree frogs. Since their habitat is in forested areas, it has been reported that the cat has the ability to achieve all of its hunting for prey entirely in trees. There have also been reports of Margays using auditory mimicry in an attempt to lure their prey.
Gestation, for the Margay, lasts about 80 days, and generally results in the birth of a single kitten. Kittens weigh 3.0 to 6.0 oz. (85 to 170 grams) at birth. This is relatively large for a small cat, and is probably related to the long gestation period. The young open their eyes at around two weeks of age, and begin to take solid food at seven to eight weeks.
The Margay is listed as “Near Threatened” on the IUCN Red List. Remaining populations are declining due to habitat loss from forest conversions, and, until the 1990s, Margays were hunted illegally for the wildlife trade.
Bioparque M’Bopicuá, operated by Montes del Plata, in Uruguay, is comprised of a fauna breeding centre, an autochthonous flora trail and a historical area of high cultural value: the ruins of a meat preservation plant dating to the 19th century known as the “Saladero de M’Bopicuá.”
The main objective of the 150-hectare Bioparque M’Bopicuá bio-park is to breed wild fauna, especially endangered autochthonous species, and later introduce them to their natural habitats. Since it was established, the bio-park has reproduced and in some cases reintroduced various mammal, avian and reptile species. The current inventory consists of 560 specimens from 54 different species.
Some of the species that have been successfully bred include the Pampas Deer, Pampas Cat, Yellow Cardinal and the Broad-Snouted Caiman. In terms of reintroduction, various species have been freed into their natural habitat, in particular coatis and caimans.
Educational organizations, specialized groups and company employees can visit the Bioparque M'Bopicuá circuit to increase awareness and contact when there are no breeding activities taking place.
In March 2011, the bio-park was admitted as a member of the WAZA (World Association of Zoos and Aquariums) and declared to be of Departmental Interest by the Río Negro government.