Ocelots face daunting challenges in the Valley

HARLINGEN — Ocelots have never had it easy.

First, almost all of the habitat they roamed prior to Europeans’ arrival in North America has been consumed by agriculture and development.

Then there was the popularity of using ocelot pelts in what passed for high fashion in the 1960s. Since the only usable part of an ocelot pelt was the strip along the back, it took 40 ocelots to make a single coat.

If that wasn’t enough humiliation, ocelots became popular as pets. You’ve probably seen photos of painter Salvador Dali with his ocelot, Babou. Opera singer Lily Pons also had a pet ocelot named Ita.

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