Photogenic Ocelots


Researchers have a way of studying ocelots without putting them in direct contact with humans.

To do this, they use the ocelot’s great sense of smell. A special pad with a scent that attracts ocelots is placed in area where biologists believe ocelots will investigate the new scent. The cats will often rub their cheek against the pad to leave their scent as a way of letting other ocelots know they have been there. The scent pad is like a comb and it ’catches’ hairs of the ocelot, which can then be sent off and used to analyze the ocelot’s DNA. Near the scent pad, biologists also place motion sensor cameras. When an ocelot approaches the pad, the motion sensor on the camera is triggered and the ocelot takes a self-portrait. These photographs are then matched to the hair samples and used to identify visiting ocelots.  

Enjoy some of the captured images here.