CINCINNATI — Scientists at the Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden’s Center for Conservation and Research of Endangered Wildlife have welcomed two litters of ocelot kittens into the world.
According to a press release, scientists from the Cincinnati Zoo collaborated with researchers at the Arizona Sonora Desert Museum to produce the two litters following artificial insemination with frozen semen.
The zoo says this is the first time an ocelot has been born from artificial insemination since the procedure was done for the first time in 1995.
The zoo says a total of five kittens were born on March 1 and 2. Three of them survived and are currently being raised by their mothers at respective zoological facilities.
The father was transported from Brazil to the Cleveland Metroparks Zoo in 2006. His semen was collected and frozen in Cleveland nine years ago.
The father, now 16 years old, is living at the Houston Zoo and is considered the most genetically-valuable male ocelot in any North American zoo.
Ocelots have been on the United States’ endangered species list for more than 40 years, according to the zoo. A small population of 60-80 wild ocelots still survives in South Texas. The zoo asserts that reproductive sciences are helping address conservation challenges and in the future could help the species in the wild.