A rare and endangered ocelot was sighted in southern Arizona this week -- and, believe it or not, the Arizona Game and Fish Department didn't capture and kill the animal.
As few animal lovers will soon forget, Game and Fish euthanized a magnificent specimen of a jaguar, "Macho B," after mistakenly concluding that the big cat was dying. Emil McCain, a contractor for the agency, pleaded guilty last year to violating the Endangered Species Act in luring Macho B to a snare trap. The feds are still investigating the incident.
In the latest sighting of a rare wildcat, Game and Fish reports that a landowner near the Huachua Mountains noticed that his dogs had treed the spotted kitty.
A Game and Fish officer was dispatched to the area and confirmed the sighting.
According to Game and Fish:
Once the final confirmation was determined, the officer directed that all humans and dogs retreat from the area, and the ocelot, apparently unharmed, was allowed to go on his way.
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Much better than the Macho B outcome, obviously.
Only one other ocelot sighting in Arizona since the 1960s has been confirmed -- a furry lump of road-kill near Globe.
Officials aren't sure whether the cat is truly wild or a released pet.