Ocelots Using Wildlife Crossing

Threatened cat spotted crossing under Laguna Atascosa road

You may recall our October 2018 article on wildlife crossings, which featured the plight of ocelots in South Texas. In a 10-month span, seven ocelots were killed by cars there, a statistic made even more significant when you discover there are only 80-100 ocelots left in Texas.

In response, the Texas Department of Transportation agreed to build 15 wildlife underpasses around Laguna Atascosa National Wildlife Refuge. The crossings on Texas Highway 100 were completed in 2017; construction on several others around the refuge wrapped up last July. The crossings look like basic concrete culverts under the road. 

TxDOT also installed fencing, a key component of effective wildlife crossings, along Highway 100 to funnel animals toward the crossings.

The question remained: Would ocelots use them?

And now we hear that there’s success, as proved by photo evidence on Jan. 25, when an ocelot using one of those crossings was caught on camera.

According to a press release, the 5-year-old male, known as OM 331, used the crossing under FM 106 to cross from north to south.

Other animals, such as armadillos, javelinas, bobcats, long-tailed weasels, alligators and tortoises have used the underpass, however, officials said in the release this is the first documented use of an ocelot using an underpass crossing in the United States.

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