NEW ORLEANS – There are two new additions to the Audubon Zoo that are sure to catch your eye: a pair of Brazilian ocelots are now calling New Orleans home.
Brazilian ocelots are about twice the size of your average domesticated feline and feature a striking, dappled coat which helps them camouflage in the dappled sunlight of the South American rain forests.
The pair of ocelots, Milagre (“miracle” in Portuguese) and Joaquin, arrived at Audubon on October 6 from the Dallas zoo and are both nine years old. The pair are proven breeders and once they become comfortable in their new surroundings, the hope is that kittens could soon be on the way!
“Brazilian ocelots are a new species for Audubon and we are thrilled to be working with them. Joaquin is the more outgoing of the two and loves anything he can bat around. Milagre is a bit more reserved and is intrigued by new smells,” according to Dominique Fleitas, assistant curator of Audubon Zoo’s Louisiana Swamp and Jaguar Jungle.
But don’t confuse the ocelots with their jaguar cousins. Jaguars tend to be a bit larger and have a spotted coat instead of the mixture of spots and stripes that ocelots have.
Ocelots are a testimony of the conservation effort. Once hunted for its lustrous fur coat, the ocelot was nearly driven to extinction in the 1900s. But with proper education and laws in place to protect the species, ocelots are no longer considered endangered.
If you want to check out Milagre and Joaquin, head on over to the Jaguar Jungle in Audubon Zoo across from the spider monkey habitat.