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Ocelot kitten born at Franklin Park Zoo

The staff at Franklin Park Zoo is pleased to announce the birth of a female ocelot kitten.

The kitten, who was born on May 18, is the fifth offspring of Isidoro and P.J. She was bred as part of the Brazilian Ocelot Species Survival Plan. As an accredited member of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums, Zoo New England participates in Species Survival Plans for a number of species. SSPs are designed to maintain a genetically diverse and demographically stable captive population. 

The kitten had her first medical exam on June 22, and weighed 1.23 kilograms. She is not expected to be on exhibit for at least three weeks.

“The kitten is beginning to show her personality, expressing attitude like her mom, P.J.,” said Nikki Smith, Lead Keeper. “Though she is settled into her nest box with her mom for now, we expect her to be very active when she gets into her exhibit in the Tropical Forest.”

Ocelots are medium-sized cats found in the Western hemisphere. These animals, which grow 2 to 3 feet in length and weigh between 17 and 25 pounds, live mostly in grasslands and rainforests. They are secretive animals, which makes them difficult to spot in the wild. These nocturnal carnivores are great swimmers and climbers, and have a keen sense of sight and hearing. The primary threats to their survival in the wild are deforestation, habitat destruction and the fur trade. Ocelots have beautiful spotted fur noted for its irregularly shaped dark spots. Visit Franklin Park Zoo's Animal pages to learn more about the ocelot.

Zoo New England’s Franklin Park Zoo, which has exhibited Brazilian ocelots since 2003, is a member of the Brazilian Ocelot Consortium (BOC). The consortium was initiated in 2002 as a collaborative effort of the Brazilian Ocelot SSP and a Brazilian non-governmental conservation organization. Since its founding, the BOC has made great strides in achieving its primary conservation goals, which include gradually replacing the generic (mixed sub-species) ocelots within the captive population with Brazilian ocelots through a combination of natural breeding and assisted reproduction. In addition to captive management, the BOC has focused considerable resources on ocelot conservation field work in Brazil. 

Beginning this afternoon at 4:00p.m. EST, until Sunday, July 13 at 2:00p.m. EST, the public can post name suggestions for the new ocelot kitten on Franklin Park Zoo’s Facebook page. After Sunday’s final World Cup game, Zoo New England plans to host an online voting contest ending on Monday, July 14 at 2:00p.m. EST, and will ask the public to select the final name from a handful of Zoo New England’s favorite submissions.