Ocelot in Southern Arizona Left Unharmed by State Game and Fish; Agency Killed Rare Jaguar in 2009

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ocelot arizona.jpg
Image: Arizona Game and Fish Department
This ocelot was spotted in southern Arizona on Tuesday

A rare and endangered ocelot was sighted in southern Arizona this week -- and, believe it or not, the Arizona Game and Fish Department didn't capture and kill the animal.

As few animal lovers will soon forget, Game and Fish euthanized a magnificent specimen of a jaguar, "Macho B," after mistakenly concluding that the big cat was dying. Emil McCain, a contractor for the agency, pleaded guilty last year to violating the Endangered Species Act in luring Macho B to a snare trap. The feds are still investigating the incident.

In the latest sighting of a rare wildcat, Game and Fish reports that a landowner near the Huachua Mountains noticed that his dogs had treed the spotted kitty.

A Game and Fish officer was dispatched to the area and confirmed the sighting.


According to Game and Fish:

Once the final confirmation was determined, the officer directed that all humans and dogs retreat from the area, and the ocelot, apparently unharmed, was allowed to go on his way.

Much better than the Macho B outcome, obviously.

Only one other ocelot sighting in Arizona since the 1960s has been confirmed -- a furry lump of road-kill near Globe.

Officials aren't sure whether the cat is truly wild or a released pet.

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Tony Battiste
Tony Battiste

I was fortunate enough to be one of 8 people at the site of the treed ocelot. I can atest to the professionalism of the 4 AZ GFD personel that were present investigating this remarkable sighting. For those out there with negative comments about this gov't agency, you don't have a clue. GFD did a tremendous job gathering video, physical evidence, and sparing this magnificent feline any undue stress. I applaude them for the work that they do.

Tony Battiste Hereford AZ

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