“Analysis indicates that the ocelot is the same animal observed in February 2011 by Game and Fish officers and photographed by a hunter’s trail camera in May 2011 in the Huachuca Mountains,” officials said in a release issued last week.
The hunter who took the photos wishes to remain anonymous and refused to provide any more details. However, officials said the lack of a location will keep the photo from being entered as an official sighting. For now, the sighting will be listed as “probable but not verifiable.”
“This sighting will be a Class I-10 report, which means that visual or physical evidence is provided and confirmed,” Nongame Branch Chief Eric Gardner said in the release. “We are confident it is an ocelot and have no reason to believe it was not photographed in Arizona, but without a more definite location it simply cannot be entered into our system in a meaningful way.”
Ocelots have been listed as endangered since 1982, and are rarely seen in Arizona. The only other confirmed sighting occurred in the 1960s when one was run over by a motorist near Globe, Ariz. Another was captured on camera in 2009 under similar circumstances and was never verified as an official sighting.