10th annual Ocelot Festival set for today
February 13, 2009 – 8:37 PM
By STEVE SINCLAIR, Valley Morning Star
HARLINGEN – Rio Grande Valley residents get a chance to walk on the wild side Saturday at the 10th annual Ocelot Conservation Festival.
The festival runs from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. at Marine Military Academy.
Highlighting this year’s festival will be shows featuring an ocelot and serval cat, a native of the African savanna, from the Cincinnati Zoo.
Last Chance Forever, a raptor rehabilitation center in San Antonio, will have live birds of prey demonstrations.
Among other activities will be a live fishing tank, sea turtles from Sea Turtle, Inc., archery, a silent auction, junior nature challenge and a chance to build bird feeders.
Jody Mays, a wildlife biologist for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, said the festival has been an important conservation tool.
“The festival raises awareness and support for ocelot and wildlife conservation in the Valley,” she noted.
“Texas is the only state in the country where ocelots are native and they’re at risk of disappearing from the United States. We want to partner with local communities to keep this unique Texas resource,” she said.
Mays said money raised at the festival goes for habitat restoration, research, management, outreach and education to build support.
Other wildlife also benefit from programs that help ocelots, she said, adding that there are fewer than 100 ocelots remaining in the United States, all in Deep South Texas.
Admission to the festival is $5 for adults, $3 for children ages 5-12. Children 4 and under are admitted free.
Money raised from the festival goes for ocelot conservation.
Learn more about big cats and Big Cat Rescue at http://bigcatrescue.org