The ocelot (Leopardus pardalis) is an endangered cat native to south Texas. Urbanization and agricultural development have resulted in limited and fragmented habitat, making ocelot habitat restoration an important factor in the cat's recovery. We evaluated the use of United States Department of Agriculture-Natural Resource Conservation Service (USDA-NRCS) soil surveys to identify potential restoration sites by examining ocelot habitat use in south Texas from 1982–1990. We analyzed an 8-year data set of ocelot radiotelemetry locations using Geographic Information Systems (GIS) and Bailey's confidence intervals. Ocelots selected habitat with dense (>95%) canopy cover more than open (<75%) canopy cover. Ocelots also selected Camargo, Lardeo, Olmito, and Point Isabel soil series in greater proportion than available. The selected soils also represented 82% of the selected dense canopy cover areas. Our results suggest that USDA-NRCS soil survey maps can be used as a tool for identifying potential areas for ocelot habitat restoration.
Laguna Atascosa National Wildlife Refuge