Leopardus pardalis 


Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
Animalia Chordata Mammalia Carnivora Felidae

Scientific Name: Leopardus pardalis
Species Authority: (Linnaeus, 1758)
Common Name(s):
English Ocelot
Spanish Manigordo, Gato Onza, Ocelote, Tigrillo
Taxonomic Notes: Taxonomy is currently under review by the IUCN SSC Cat Specialist Group. This species is genetically very diverse across its range and shows a high degree of population structure, with four distinct clusters: Central America and Mexico, north-northwest South America, north-northeast South America and southern South America. The demarcation between northern and southern South America was identified as the Amazon river (Eizirik et al. 1998).

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Least Concern ver 3.1
Year Published: 2015
Date Assessed: 2014-05-10
Assessor(s): Paviolo, A., Crawshaw, P., Caso, A., de Oliveira, T., Lopez-Gonzalez, C.A., Kelly, M., De Angelo, C. & Payan, E.
Reviewer(s): Nowell, K., Hunter, L., Schipper, J., Breitenmoser-Würsten, C., Lanz, T. & Breitenmoser, U.
Contributor(s): Di Blanco, Y., Quiroga, V., Cruz, P., Leite-Pitman, M.R.P., Eizirik, E. & Valderrama, C.
The Ocelot has a wide distribution, from northern Argentina to the southwestern United States, being the most common felid species in most of the tropical and subtropical habitats of the Neotropics; it is listed as Least Concern. Densities seem to increase with rainfall and decrease with latitude, with the highest densities in tropical areas (Di Bitetti et al. 2008). Even though there are indications of specific population declines, these do not seem to affect the species to the point of categorizing it under any threat category rangewide. Its extensive occurrence in Brazil, added to the remaining area of present distribution allows an effective population of >40,000 mature individuals (Oliveira et al. 2013). At least in some areas of the Amazon basin, populations are apparently healthy and stable. The species is, nevertheless, impacted by habitat loss and fragmentation, intense logging activities, vehicle collisions and poaching (Di Bitetti et al. 2008, Payan et al. 2013). In Colombia, Ocelots manage to survive in oil palm landscapes and extensive cattle ranches in the llanos and Inter-Andean valleys (Boron and Payan 2013, Diaz-Pulido and Payan 2011). In Argentina, the species still is found in all the subtropical area and although it is affected by poaching and logging (Di Bitetti et al. 2006, 2008, 2010), a total of 1,500 to 8,000 individuals is estimated for this country at the southern range of the species (Aprile et al. 2012). Populations of northeastern Mexico and Texas have experienced dramatic declines and the genetic impacts of isolation are apparent, particularly in Texas (Janecka et al. 2011 and Janecka et al. 2014). The number of Ocelots in Texas is believed to be between 50 – 80 individuals. These areas will certainly need attention or Ocelots are likely to be extirpated there.
Previously published Red List assessments:
2008 Least Concern (LC)
2002 Least Concern (LC)
1996 Lower Risk/least concern (LR/lc)
1990 Vulnerable (V)
1988 Vulnerable (V)
1986 Vulnerable (V)
1982 Vulnerable (V)

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description: The Ocelot is widely distributed from United States and Mexico through Central and South America south to North Argentina, southern Brazil and Uruguay, found in every country except Chile.  In the United States was recorded in Arizona (Strangl and Young 2011, Avilas-Villegas and Lamberton-Moreno 2012) and in two isolated subpopulations in the southern tip of Texas (U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. 2010). At Uruguay was recorded at the Rivera Department, near the Brazilian border (Andrade-Nuñez and Aide 2010).
Countries occurrence:
Argentina; Belize; Bolivia, Plurinational States of; Brazil; Colombia; Costa Rica; Ecuador; El Salvador; French Guiana; Guatemala; Guyana; Honduras; Mexico; Nicaragua; Panama; Paraguay; Peru; Suriname; Trinidad and Tobago; United States (Arizona, Texas); Uruguay; Venezuela, Bolivarian Republic of
Upper elevation limit (metres): 3000
Range Map: Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population: Ocelot population densities throughout its entire range varies widely from 2.5 to 160/100 km². At a continental scale, Ocelot densities decrease with latitude and increase with rainfall (Di Bitetti et al. 2008). Primary productivity seems to determine the abundance of this wild cat across their range, but at a local scale their abundance may be affected by logging and poaching or by competition with other species (Di Bitetti et al. 2008). The lowest densities are found at the Pine Forest of Belize (Dillon and Kelly 2007), dry areas of Mexico (Gonzalez et al. 2003) and the Caatinga in northeastern Brazil (Oliveira 2012). The maximum estimated density was found at the Barro Colorado Island in Panamá (Rodgers et al. 2014). The species is considered Endangered in Mexico (Norma Oficial Mexicana 2010) and in United States (U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. 2010), Vulnerable in Colombia (Rodriguez-Mahecha et al. 2006) and Argentina (Aprile et al. 2012). In Brazil, populations outside the Amazon are listed as Vulnerable (Machado et al. 2005).
Current Population Trend: Decreasing
Additional data:
Population severely fragmented: No

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology: The species occupies a wide spectrum of habitats types, ranging from scrublands to tropical rain forests. What all these habitats have in common is a well-structured vegetation cover (Emmons 1988, Emmons et al. 1989, Sunquist and Sunquist 2002). Ocelots were recorded in mangrove forests, coastal marshes, savanna grasslands, thorn scrubs, and tropical and subtropical forest (primary, secondary, evergreen, seasonal and montane). The species typically occurs at elevations below 3,000 m but there are occasional reports of the species up to 3,000 m (Nowell and Jackson 1996, Sunquist and Sunquist 2002).

The Ocelot is a medium sized felid (11 kg), with a litter size of 1.4 kittens (1–4), and typically nocturno-crepuscular activity, but that could also be active during daytime (Oliveira and Cassaro 2005, Di Bitetti et al. 2006). Throughout much of its range tends to be the most abundant cat species. The Ocelot also reaches higher density estimates than its sympatric smaller species and was suggested that also negatively impact its small guild members (Di Bitetti et al. 2010, Oliveira et al. 2010). The species use similar habitat and show similar abundance patterns than Jaguars and Pumas and appear not to be affected by these species (Di Bitetti et al 2010, Davis et al. 2011)  Its diet includes small mammals, birds and reptiles, but include also larger sized prey (>800 g), such as agoutis, armadillos, pacas, monkeys, etc. that in some areas can constitute the most important items (Crawshaw 1995, Sunquist and Sunquist 2002, Moreno et al. 2006, Bianchi et al. 2010)

The home ranges of males are larger than the ranges of the sympatric females, but high variation exist on the size between regions (Dillon and Kelly 2008).  The largest home ranges (43 km² for males and 16 km² for females) were observed in Subtropical forest of Brazil and Argentina (Crawshaw 1995) and the smallest (2 to 6 km² for males and 1 to 3 km² for females) were observed in Texas (US), Brazilian Pantanal, Peruvian Amazonia and Bolivian Chaco (Navarro 1985, Emmons 1988, Crawshaw and Quigley 1989, Laack 1991, Maffei and Noss 2008).
Systems: Terrestrial
Movement patterns: Not a Migrant

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): At present the major threats for the species are habitat loss and fragmentation, retaliatory killing due to depredation of poultry and illegal trade of pets and pelts (Sunquist and Sunquiest 2002).The Ocelot has been described as being tolerant in some degree to habitat disturbs and persists in wooded patches near human settlements. However, Ocelot abundance is negatively affected by anthropogenic effects like poaching and logging (Di Bitetti et al. 2008). Although widespread commercial harvests for the fur trade ceased decades ago, some illegal trade still persists.

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: Included on CITES Appendix I. The species is protected across most of its range, with hunting banned in Argentina, Brazil, Bolivia, Colombia, Costa Rica, French Guiana, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama, Paraguay, Suriname, Trinidad and Tobago, United States, Uruguay and Venezuela, and hunting regulations in place in Peru (Nowell and Jackson 1996). Part of the species range includes protected areas, including some capable of maintaining long-term viable populations.

Citation: Paviolo, A., Crawshaw, P., Caso, A., de Oliveira, T., Lopez-Gonzalez, C.A., Kelly, M., De Angelo, C. & Payan, E. 2015. Leopardus pardalis. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2015: e.T11509A50653476. . Downloaded on 01 December 2015.
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