[Federal Register: August 26, 2010 (Volume 75, Number 165)]
[Page 52547-52549]
From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]



Fish and Wildlife Service

[FWS-R2-ES-2010-N167; 20124-1113-0000-C2]

Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants; Draft Ocelot 
(Leopardus pardalis) Recovery Plan, First Revision

AGENCY: Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior.

ACTION: Notice of document availability for public review.


SUMMARY: We, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service), announce the 
availability of the Draft Ocelot (Leopardus pardalis) Recovery Plan, 
First Revision. We request review and comment from the public on this 
draft revised recovery plan. We will also accept any new information on 
the status of the ocelot throughout its range

[[Page 52548]]

to assist in finalizing the revised recovery plan.

DATES: To ensure consideration, we must receive any comments no later 
than October 25, 2010.

ADDRESSES: An electronic copy of the recovery plan can be obtained from 
our Web site at http://www.fws.gov/southwest/es/Library/. Copies of the 
recovery plan are also available by request. To obtain a copy, contact 
Jody Mays by U.S. mail at Laguna Atascosa National Wildlife Refuge, 
22817 Ocelot Road, Los Fresnos, TX 78566; by phone at (956) 748-3607; 
or by e-mail at Jody_Mays@fws.gov. Written comments and materials on 
the draft revised recovery plan may be mailed to Jody Mays at the 
address above.




    The Endangered Species Act of 1973 (Act), as amended (16 U.S.C. 
1531 et seq.), requires the development of recovery plans for listed 
species unless such a plan would not promote the conservation of a 
particular species. Recovery plans help guide the recovery effort by 
describing actions considered necessary for the conservation of the 
species, and estimating time and costs for implementing the measures 
needed for recovery. A recovery plan was originally completed for the 
ocelot in 1990 (The Listed Cats of Texas and Arizona Recovery Plan), 
but the recommendations contained in that plan are outdated given the 
species' current status.
    Section 4(f) of the Act requires that we provide public notice and 
an opportunity for public review and comment during recovery plan 
development. We will consider all information presented during a public 
comment period prior to approval of each new or revised recovery plan. 
We will also take these comments into account in the course of 
implementing recovery actions. In fulfillment of this requirement, we 
are making this draft first revision of the recovery plan for the 
ocelot available for a 60-day public comment period.
    The ocelot was listed as an endangered foreign species in 1972 
under the authority of the Endangered Species Conservation Act of 1969 
(37 FR 6476; March 30, 1972). Following passage of the Endangered 
Species Act in 1973, the ocelot was included on the January 4, 1974 (39 
FR 1158; January 4, 1974), list of ``Endangered Foreign Wildlife'' that 
``grandfathered'' species from the lists under the 1969 Endangered 
Species Conservation Act into a new list under the ESA. Endangered 
status was extended to ocelots in the U.S. portion of the species' 
range for the first time, with a final rule published July 21, 1982 (47 
FR 31670). In that rule, we made a determination that designation of 
critical habitat was not prudent, because such a designation would not 
be in the best interests of conservation of the species. Currently, the 
ocelot is listed as endangered throughout its range, from southern 
Texas and southern Arizona through Central and South America into 
northern Argentina and Uruguay.
    The ocelot requires dense vegetation (more than 75 percent canopy 
cover), with 95 percent cover preferred in Texas. Habitats used by the 
ocelot throughout its range vary from tropical rainforest, pine forest, 
gallery forest, riparian forest, semideciduous forest, and dry tropical 
forest, to savanna, shrublands, and marshlands. Contiguous areas of 
vegetation are necessary for ocelot dispersal. In south Texas, 2 
remaining ocelot populations of less than 25 total known individuals 
inhabit dense thornscrub communities on the Lower Rio Grande Valley and 
Laguna Atascosa National Wildlife Refuges, as well as on private lands. 
Its prey consists primarily of rabbits, rodents, birds, and lizards.
    In November 2009, an ocelot was documented in Arizona with the use 
of camera traps for the first time since 1964, when the last known 
ocelot in Arizona was legally shot. However, a number of ocelots have 
been recently documented 30-35 miles south of the Arizona border in 
Sonora, Mexico.
    Habitat conversion, fragmentation, and loss, comprise the primary 
threats to the ocelot today. In Texas, over 95 percent of the dense 
thornscrub habitat in the Lower Rio Grande Valley has been converted to 
agriculture, rangelands, or urban land uses. Small population sizes in 
Texas and isolation from conspecifics in Mexico endanger the ocelot in 
Texas with genetic impoverishment and increased susceptibility to 
stochastic (random) events. Connectivity among ocelot populations or 
colonization of new habitats is discouraged by the proliferation of 
highways and increased road mortality among dispersing ocelots. Issues 
associated with developing and patrolling the boundary between the 
United States and Mexico further exacerbate the isolation of Texas 
ocelots from those in Mexico.
    While the draft ocelot recovery plan considers the ocelot 
throughout its range, its major focus is on two cross-border management 
units, the Texas/Tamaulipas Management Unit and the Arizona/Sonora 
Management Unit. The draft ocelot recovery plan includes scientific 
information about the species and provides objectives and actions 
needed for recovery and to ultimately remove it from the list of 
threatened and endangered species. Recovery actions include:
     Assessment, protection, reconnection, and restoration of 
sufficient habitat to support viable populations of the ocelot in the 
borderlands of the United States and Mexico;
     Reduction of effects of human population growth and 
development to ocelot survival and mortality;
     Maintenance or improvement of genetic fitness, demographic 
conditions, and health of the ocelot;
     Assurance of long-term viability of ocelot conservation 
through partnerships, the development and application of incentives for 
landowners, application of existing regulations, and public education 
and outreach;
     Use of adaptive management, in which recovery is monitored 
and recovery tasks are revised by the Service in coordination with the 
Ocelot Recovery Team as new information becomes available; and
     Support of international efforts to ascertain the status 
of and conserve the ocelot south of Tamaulipas and Sonora.

Public Comments

    We are accepting written comments and information during this 
comment period on the revised draft recovery plan. All comments 
received by the date specified above will be considered prior to 
approval of the final recovery plan. Comments and materials we receive 
will be available for public inspection, by appointment, during normal 
business hours at the Laguna Atascosa National Wildlife Refuge (see 
    Before including your address, phone number, e-mail address, or 
other personal identifying information in your comment, you should be 
aware that your entire comment, including your personal identifying 
information, may be made publically available at any time. While you 
can ask us in your comment to withhold your personal identifying 
information from public review, we cannot guarantee that we will be 
able to do so.

    Authority:  The authority for this action is section 4(f) of the 
Endangered Species Act, 16 U.S.C. 1533(f).

[[Page 52549]]

    Dated: August 4, 2010.
Joy E. Nicholopoulos,
Regional Director, Region 2.
[FR Doc. 2010-21249 Filed 8-25-10; 8:45 am]