National Wildlife Refuge System

Cats on Cars

Friends Forward November 2013

Sales of a new license plate in Texas will raise money to protect endangered ocelots.
Credit: Friends of Laguna Atascosa Refuge, TX
The SaveTexasOcelots license plate will go on sale soon, with some of the proceeds devoted to protecting the endangered cat.
Credit: Friends of Laguna Atascosa Refuge, TX

The Friends of Laguna Atascosa National Wildlife Refuge, TX, already have an active Adopt an Ocelot campaign and a Viva the Ocelot Facebook page.  Why not a license plate too, wondered refuge volunteer and Friend Mary Ann Severson in 2007. Six years later, Save the Ocelot license plates are about to go on sale in Texas. 

The Friends paid $8,000, refundable after 800 plates are sold or renewed.  The license plate design includes a new web address - – which will provide links to Lower Rio Grande Valley and Laguna Atascosa Refuges as well as their Friends groups. Visitors to the Texas Department of Motor Vehicles website voted on the design.  The University of Texas Brownsville, which had just selected the ocelot as its, used its Facebook page to help drum up votes.  In July 2013, the ocelot plate was officially approved; the first sales are expected late this year.

The ocelot plates will sell for $30 above the cost of regular license plates; $22 will go to the Friends.  Friends president Tom deMaar expects the plates to raise revenue for ocelot conservation but also build public awareness of the endangered cat.  License plates are already helping the endangered horned lizard in Texas.  Since 2000, sales of lizard plates have raised $4.5 million for conservation.

Want to see these rare cats in motion?  Check out this local news report on the ocelot license plate campaign.

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Last updated: November 8, 2013