Survival and cause-specific mortality estimates are needed to develop effective conservation strategies for the endangered ocelot (Leopardus pardalis) in the United States. We radiomonitored 80 ocelots (36 F, 44 M) from 1983 to 2002 and analyzed survival and cause-specific mortality rates. Pooled estimates of annual survival rates differed between resident (Ŝ = 0.87) and transient (Ŝ = 0.57) ocelots (P = 0.02); therefore, survival and cause-specific mortality analyses were partitioned for resident and transient ocelots. Sex-specific annual survival was similar between resident ocelots (M = 0.92, F = 0.83, P = 0.16) and transient ocelots (M = 0.53, F = 0.63, P = 0.75). Most mortalities were from human (e.g., ocelot–vehicle collisions; M = 45%) and natural (e.g., animal attack, disease; M = 35%) sources. Transient ocelots had higher natural mortality rates (disease, intraspecific mortality; M = 0.26) than resident ocelots (M = 0.04, P = 0.03). Other sources of mortality did not differ (P ≥ 0.10) between resident or transient ocelots or male and female resident or transient ocelots (P ≥ 0.08). Human population expansion within the Lower Rio Grande Valley of southern Texas, USA, will increase transportation-related problems and decrease the quantity of ocelot habitat, leading to increased ocelot–vehicle collisions and possibly cause more transient behavior, thus significantly lowering ocelot survival. Research and development of ocelot road underpasses should be conducted to mitigate ocelot–vehicle collisions.
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Vol. 69 • No. 1