This adorable ocelot was another victim of the wildlife traffic, but was lucky enough to be rescued and taken to a Wildlife Refuge. She lives with a male, and it's usually exploring the enclosure, but she will sometimes come over to the switch area to interact with her caretakers. On this day, a volunteer was wearing leopard-print rubber boots, and she was very curious about it and wanted to check it out! How cute is that?! The Ocelot (Leopardus pardalis) is a small wild cat, but it is the biggest member of the genus Leopardus, which also includes the Margay (Leopardus wiedii), the Northern Tiger Cat (Leopardus tigrinus), the Andean Mountain Cat (Leopardus jacobita), the Kodkod (Leopardus guigna), the Geoffroy's Cat (Leopardus geoffroyi), the Pampas Cat (Leopardus colocolo), and the Southern Tiger Cat (Leopardus guttulus). It is native to the Americas and can be found in various habits, such as tropical forests, thorn scrub regions, savannah grasslands, marshes and mangrove forests. It is widely distributed, from northern Argentina to the southwestern United States, and it's the most common cat species throughout much of its range. At the moment the main threats for ocelots are habitat loss and fragmentation, retaliatory killing for depredation of poultry, and the illegal trade of pets and fur. After drugs and weapons, the illegal wildlife trade is the third most valuable illicit commerce in the world. Only one out of ten trafficked animals survive! Do not support the pet trade; do not buy wildlife products! Wild animals should be wild and free!
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