The El Paso Zoo is celebrating its latest special delivery.
Two healthy baby ocelot kittens — a male and female — were born on March 2 as part of a large litter of four, the zoo announced on Thursday.
Sadly, one male kitten was stillborn and a female kitten was not healthy enough to survive. The two remaining kittens are doing well, officials say.
According to a news release, the ocelot is a medium-sized, short-haired cat with distinctive markings that serve as camouflage. The species is listed as endangered by the State of Texas.
Zoo officials say the birth of the baby ocelots is significant because their mom, Lindy, was artificially inseminated from frozen samples collected in 2010 from a male ocelot, Principe.
“These births are highly significant because this is the first time in 24 years that AI with frozen semen has been successful in ocelots. Because it was successful, it opens up the possibility for others zoos to increase genetic diversity using the same procedure,” said Zoo Area Supervisor of the El Paso Zoo Amanda Stansbury. “This is great coordination effort between Species Survival Plan participants in the Association of Zoos and Aquariums to help preserve the species.”
Zoos in Cincinnati, Cleveland, and Houston worked with the El Paso Zoo to make the birth possible.
Congratulations to Lindy and the El Paso Zoo!