Male ocelot born at the OKC Zoo is welcome addition as part of Ocelot Species Survival Plan®.

The Oklahoma City Zoo and Botanical Garden is excited to announce the arrival of Raif, an 8-year-old male ocelot to its Cat Forest family. This is a homecoming for Raif who was born at the OKC Zoo’s Cat Forest habitat in 2013 then moved to Cleveland Metroparks Zoo in Cleveland, Ohio in 2015 as part of a breeding recommendation through the Association of Zoos and Aquarium’s Ocelot Species Survival Plan® (SSP). The ocelot SSP program recently recommended that Raif relocate to the OKC Zoo to be paired with its female ocelot, Arieta. Arieta, 8, arrived at the Zoo in 2021 from the Arizona Sonoran Desert Museum in Tucson, Arizona.

 “We’re so happy to have Raif home at the OKC Zoo where he will hopefully welcome his own offspring and help contribute to the population of this incredible species,” said Tyler Boyd, the Zoo’s curator of carnivores.

Arieta and Raif are taking time to become familiar felines. According to caretakers the initial stages of the introduction or “howdy” process between this breeding pair is going well. Arieta and Raif are able to see and smell one another from their separate habitats allowing them to become familiar with each other. Ocelots are solitary animals, meaning they prefer to live alone, and only come together to mate. Zoo guests can spot Raif and Arieta at their habitats in the Zoo’s Cat Forest area which is also home to the Zoo’s Sumatran tigers, clouded leopards, bobcat, caracal, serval, fishing cats and jaguar.

Ocelots are medium-sized cats found in the throughout the forests and scrublands of Central and South America, as well as the southwestern United States and Mexico. These beautiful cats have distinct coats that include a variety of rosette and spot patterns and can also be identified by their long tail and rounded ears. Although currently listed as a species of least concern by the International Union for Conservation of Nature, ocelot populations are decreasing because of habitat loss and habitat fragmentation. By participating in the ocelot SSP, the Zoo is doing its part to help ensure the survival of this species for future generations.

The Oklahoma City Zoo is in its winter hours and open Thursdays through Mondays from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily with the last entry no later than 4 p.m. The park is closed to the public on Tuesdays and Wednesdays through Wednesday, February 9. Purchase advance tickets for general admission at Located at the crossroads of I-44 and I-35, the OKC Zoo is a proud member of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums, the American Alliance of Museums, Oklahoma City’s Adventure District and an Adventure Road partner. Regular admission is $12 for adults and $9 for children ages 3-11 and seniors ages 65 and over. Children two and under are admitted free.

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