Most wild felid species are classified as rare, vulnerable, or endangered due to poaching and habitat loss. Any directed action taken by humans to enhance animal reproduction results in assisted reproductive technologies (ART) development. These technologies have been included in programs for the conservation of endangered species. Therefore, ART provide a new approach in the safeguard programs of felid biodiversity. Currently, ART mainly include Artificial Insemination; taking sperm from a male and placing it to the reproductive system of female, is one tool in the scientist’s toolkit to save the endangered species of animals. Recently, this has been done successfully and three adorable ocelot kittens were welcomed into this world following the procedure of artificial insemination.
Ocelots are small, American wild cats about twice the size of housecats. Their coats have distinctive markings in a wide variety of patterns. Each ocelot’s pattern is unique, with dark spots on an orange, tan and white coat. Ocelots are also sometimes called painted leopards because of their markings and dwarf leopards because of their markings and their size. However, ocelots are only distantly related to true leopards or tigers.
The three tiny ocelot fur-balls were born via artificial insemination at Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden in Ohio this March, while the first images of the kittens were released this week.