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10th Annual Ocelot Conservation Festival - Laguna Atascosa National Wildlife Refuge
Southwest Region, February 14, 2009
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USFWS, 02/14/09.  Sihil the ocelot poses for the audience at the 10th Annual Ocelot Conservation Festival in Harlingen, TX.
USFWS, 02/14/09. Sihil the ocelot poses for the audience at the 10th Annual Ocelot Conservation Festival in Harlingen, TX. - Photo Credit: n/a
USFWS, 02/14/09.  Sihil and her trainer demonstrate the climbing ability of ocelots at the 10th Annual Ocelot Festival in Harlingen, TX.
USFWS, 02/14/09. Sihil and her trainer demonstrate the climbing ability of ocelots at the 10th Annual Ocelot Festival in Harlingen, TX. - Photo Credit: n/a

Valentine’s Day in Harlingen, Texas saw nearly 2,500 people get kissing close to an ocelot at the 10th annual Ocelot Conservation Festival. Hosted by the Friends of Laguna Atascosa National Wildlife Refuge (Friends) and the Laguna Atascosa National Wildlife Refuge (NWR), the unique festival attracted visitors from 40 states and more than 200 cities. 

Kelly McDowell, Project Leader for the South Texas Refuge Complex said “It was great.  We had a beautiful ocelot from the Cincinnati Zoo that did a great job of displaying the species’ agility and strength.” 

When not watching the ocelot climb and maneuver her make-shift tree, participants felt the draft of raptors swooping overhead at the live raptor show.   They gently caressed the carapace of One-eyed Jack, a young Kemp’s ridley sea turtle whose injuries keep him from being released.  Participants held harmless snakes and looked an alligator in the eye.   Live catfish were caught at the fishing tank and archers practiced their skills.  Children played ocelot games and adults spent their money on valuable silent auction items.  

“While the featured guest is the ocelot, folks learn a lot about other South Texas species and they have a lot of fun doing it,” said McDowell. “Our Friend’s group does a great job of hosting this festival and every dollar they raise goes toward the research and protection of ocelots.”    

 


Contact Info: Linda Miller, (760) 326-3853 ext. 22 , linda_l_miller@fws.gov



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