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Lawsuit Settled To Protect Endangered Ocelot In Southern Arizona

ocelot in the Huachuca Mountains
(Photo by Tony Battiste - Portraits in Nature)
An ocelot in the Huachuca Mountains in southern Arizona.

Environmentalists fighting to protect the endangered Ocelot agreed this week to settle a lawsuit against the federal government.

When biologists first filed the lawsuit against the federal Fish and Wildlife Service last year, they estimated fewer than 100 ocelots lived in the U.S. 

About twice the size of a house cat, it's too small to prey on large livestock, but big enough to get caught in federally sanctioned predator traps.

Tuesday, the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the Fish and Wildlife Services agreed to both revisit and enact new programs to better protect the endangered cat.

Scientist and attorney with the Center for Biological Diversity Collette Adkins said the agreement does not specifically block predator trapping where ocelots live.

But, she said, the agreement should help scientists track what appears to be a growing population of ocelots in Arizona.

“Recent sightings of ocelots show that it’s expanding its range within the Huachuca Mountains and the Santa Ritas,” she explained.

Environmentalists are worried leg hold traps, snares and poisons intended for controlling coyotes are killing the ocelot and other smaller animals.

“We just want to make sure Wildlife Service doesn’t use any methods that are indiscriminate where they could catch ocelot,” Adkins said.

Since 2009, there were only five sightings of the elusive wild cats, one was found dead on a roadway near Globe.

News Science
Holliday Moore is a native Arizonan and veteran journalist who joined KJZZ’s news team in January 2017.Moore graduated from Arizona State University after double majoring in mass communications and marketing/management. She spent her first two decades reporting for television news, beginning in small markets and working up to congressional correspondent in Washington, D.C., for a political news service.Family commitments in Arizona brought her back to the Southwest, where she covered legislative and court beats for Albuquerque’s KRQE-TV and the infamous Four Corner Manhunt as KREZ-TV’s managing editor.Back home in Phoenix, she developed ABC15’s “Democracy Project,” now instituted at all Scripps’ news stations nationwide. Her work garnered “Best Practices” recognition by the Poynter Institute and the prestigious Walter Cronkite Award for Excellence in Television Political Journalism.Her television reports, from sports to cultural issues, earned her multiple Emmy and Associated Press nominations, including a Rocky Mountain Emmy for her Hopi Partition Land Act coverage.As she started a family, Moore started her own media production agency, producing magazine-style travel stories for the Emmy-winning Arizona Highways Television show while working part time for a Valley radio station. She is convinced radio is where visual, sound, and print are merging through deeper storytelling. In her relatively short time with radio network affiliates, she has won four Edward R. Murrow Awards and multiple nominations from other professional news societies.Moore now teaches advanced broadcast writing to the next generation of reporters at ASU’s Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication, where a high percentage have gone on to receive national awards for their work in her class. She enjoys being back home near childhood friends and sharing the beautiful Arizona desert with her husband and young son.