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This is the Meat Eater podcast coming at you, shirtless, severely beaten, in my case, underwear or less Meat Eater podcast, you can't predict anything presented by Onex Hunt.
Creators of the most comprehensive digital mapping system for hunters. Download the Hunt app from the iTunes or Google Play store. Know where you stand with Onex. All right, guys, we're going to start right out with introductions right off the bat.
OK, Michael toois professor at Texas A&M University in Kingsville.
So that's how you say that to us. To us.
Yeah, got it. Yeah. My computer keeps coming two weeks, but yeah. Yeah, it's and I serve as a Caesar. Clayburgh Wildlife at the Sierra Club, a wildlife research institute.
And I've been there since 1981 as a professor during cat biology and cat research cats worldwide. We've done some work in Southeast Asia, some cats, clouded leopards, marbled cats, golden cats, cats you've probably never heard of. Yeah. And and and leopard cats and other cats. OK, and you compatriot here.
I'm Neal Wilkins. I'm the CEO of the East Foundation, and we're an outfit that's about 200, 17000 acres of private lands in Texas that has been set aside to serve as an area for research, education and outreach, mainly for wildlife conservation.
In how close? Because we first connected, I feel around. The fact I can't remember how it lined up or maybe was coincidence that we were going down to the interior ranch, I think so. You know, you were. It just happened to be that you guys were located around there. Yeah.
We've got one of our ranches. The El SAOs ranch is backs up real close to the attorney ranch.
OK, so, yeah, we tried to I was hoping to arrange some kind of visit. We were down there, but it never worked out.
Yeah. Now. Oh, and also Kal's here on a computer screen. He's going to have an entirely diminished role as. Yes, it's just you know how it goes, Karl. Yes. So I've got to send some bad news to one of the ladies that I work with.
She wanted me to get Cal's autograph, so I'm going to have to go back and tell her that she's not going to get it.
I think you just provide an address and he'll send it.
OK, we're also you said e-signature. Thanks for the work, Michael.
We also said, oh, sorry. We also have a common gym. Heffelfinger Yeah. What a loser that guy is.
Yeah, I agree. Yeah, he was one. I heard he barely got out and graduated from university about 25 years ago.
Yeah. Now he's ELR. We're really proud of him. We used to do a thing.
We do live shows back when people did things with each other and we would have these trivia contests like we had these pre shows. We do like these VIP prize shows and we'd have trivia. And one of our favorite trivia questions, because it always like really stumped people is we would hit them with I can't remember if it was. I came here the numbers now, but it was like name. Five of the six are named the six wild cat species of the United States of America and a guess which to.
In descending order, we're most likely to stump everybody.
Of the cat, yeah, guess which two, like no one ever got, if they if they got one of those two, it was Oh are you talking about north of the Rio Grande or North America in the present day?
US we would hit people with like name. I remember how we would phrase it. Let me just take off my head and say Jega running ocelot.
Yes, yeah. Yeah we do North America. Yeah.
Now if you do North America, that includes Mexico.
You got to have Jaguar and Margay. Yeah, but you have to have Jaguar even if it's the US and Margay.
Mark Yeah. Margay And there was only one record of a in Texas and there was in the 1950s.
Oh see we were screwing the I feel like we gave people stuff that they didn't deserve.
Do they include the house can know. We would, we would point out that. So let me just walk it through to hell with how we ask the question. Let's walk it through. Sure. Links. Everybody knows that. Not everybody, but a lot of people know there's a there's like one wild cat in Alaska. Though I think it's rumored and may be substantiated that a mountain lion or two has finagled its way into southeast Alaska. One was found all year on the Mackenzie Delta with its ears frozen off or something like that.
So they get around. But you have lynx, mountain. Lion bobcat. Yes. Jaguar, Gengar unde. Ocelot. But you're telling me there's another one I don't even know about, I didn't hurt you? Well, look, it's a baby ocelot. It's like half the size of an all star. It looks almost the same.
And we did, I guess, one of the first studies on him in Mexico and published an article about five years ago this year. Tamaulipas was a population of Markis there that they we studied.
So it's like a little ten pound wildcat. Yeah. Eight to ten pounds, bigger eyes than ocelots. But everything else is very similar talk.
Walk us through like, what's up with an ocelot? OK, and why is it that no one knows about? Why does no one know you have ocelots, right? And do you think most people want to know what an it is? Because I'm surprised that I've been working at this 35 years. I feel like I'm still failing, getting the message out. Know what an awful lot is. I did.
I remember when I was young reading how to trap books all the time. Old how to trap books.
And I remember I would always be like, what in the hell? Because you would see they'd have a section now and then on catchin in inner mention like an ocelot. Well, we may have looked at the same trapping book.
I had this one book in the early 1980s and it had a chapter on trapping all sorts and it's only one I've ever seen. And I mentioned they're easy to trap and sure enough, they turned out to be pretty easy to trap. For me, just the problem is you have to find out where they are. Once you find out where they are, they are easy to trap.
Yeah. So it's our people feel like what what is and where it lives. Yeah. That's where we're used to live in their lives. OK, the assets of the 40 species of cats, the most beautiful.
It's just the fact that that's an objective reality to reality. It's about a 20 pound cat about two feet tall, the at least the Canción in Texas, the United States, the females are 18 to 22 pounds in.
The males are 22 to 25 pounds.
And they're beautifully striped and spots and rosettes. It's really an interesting tangle of of markings that provide the ultimate camouflage, I think, for for a cat. Yes.
Like I mean, it is it is it's coat different than the Jaguars besides just being a smaller version. Oh, yeah.
I think it's much more complex than a Jaguar. A Jaguar has the rosettes with a dot in the center of it.
All sorts of have spots, rosettes, all kinds of em, and some of the rosettes form chains to where it looks like chains going down the shoulder and down the back. It's such a very difficult animal to try to describe.
You can't do it for one side of the ocelot to the other has a different spotting pattern. And each one is like a fingerprint. They're very unique. So it helps us when we use cameras to to census of population, we can identify individual allsorts that way. So they.
Well, how would you describe the general colour scheme, yellow yellowish background with a little bit of whitish underneath and then like many of the cars have two very distinct facial stripes and then and then these very distinct black and then the tail is about an eighteen inch tail with black rings around it.
And that's all very similar to Margay as well. But some smaller version for more.
Yeah, so they're an incredible cat, their distribution goes all the way from northern Argentina to southern United States, they used to occur and there have been a couple of males identified in Arizona, never a breeding population in Arizona, but they've always been a breeding population in Texas. And the range one of my hobbies is collecting reports of leopard cats is what they were called in 1800, OK. So from 18, 30 to 1880, you have leopard cats identified in almost every almost every river in Texas up to East Texas.
And they so they they really like the dense brush covered. That would be a longer riparian area. So I can imagine distinct populations of ocelots on every major river, Brazos Triniti, Colorado River, into East Texas. And so so they did occur in Louisiana, in Arkansas, at least a record or two there. Oh, is that right? Yeah. No.
Are they do they show up in the oral traditions in Native American oral traditions for the Mayans and Aztecs.
They do OK. Yeah. You know, the Mayans and Aztecs worshipped Jaguars, very important in their in the religion.
But the sticks, they kind of recognize the the outside as a smaller God like symbol or it was smaller. And the symbolism back then, the Jaguars, if you're ever eaten by a Jaguar, you went into the portal to hell. So you don't wanna be eaten by a Jaguar. I don't know that. Yeah, it's it's really rich tradition all the way down to I think the Incas even had had some of that Jaguar worshipping.
But the minor deal were cause of cause of death. That's not self-inflicted, is rewarded with hell. Yeah, I don't think anyone likes to get that doesn't pop up very often. Man Yeah, those are it hurts to be bitten by a cat. Yeah.
When you say that they bumped into Arkansas, perhaps, or bumped into Louisiana, perhaps. Those come from just very like small like single references or whatever.
That's right, the type specimen for the subspecies Albertsons comes from Louisiana. Oh, does. Yeah.
And sometimes I get a little mixed up in maybe in Arkansas, but back when it was shortly after being Louisiana Purchase, so they called it maybe Louisiana, but the type specimens from there and then how many at once upon a time how many were running around.
It's anyone's guess and no, really, the records that you you have from 1800, just one instance, one anecdote, I shot a leopard cat.
I found a leopard cat with a couple exceptions. There's one trapper who reports several leopard cats and his cats at the mouth of the San Bernard River. So where does that sit? South of Houston, about about 30, 40 miles and so on.
So that kind of is really believable that he was logging his season's catch, at least that.
Yeah, I don't know if a whole season, but it was very probably a very large population in that area at that time. So, yeah, it's and the spelling, it was really funny how the anecdote there and the narrative was he misspelled everything you can misspell, but he got leopard cats and bears there.
And then another one was, oh, the hunter that led to Roosevelt hunts and came out of Louisiana, went to Texas and then lily bean bean lily and see the guy that ran the sea, the guy that was tangled up in the whole teddy bear thing now.
Oh, that was. No, no, no, no. Ben Lily is a character and he would never sleep indoors. He always slept outdoors. He was a tremendous cat dog person. He did.
Went from Bears, Louisiana, spent 06, collected a few south of of Houston.
They went on made became famous in Arizona, leading with Teddy Roosevelt. But interestingly, a couple of samples that he collected south of Houston and sent off to the Smithsonian. We got DNA from the bones of the skull from those cats. So we analyzed it 100 years later. It's kind of interesting that, yeah, the ability if anyone ever I mean, that's that's an interesting Regius.
They're. If you if you can't get a good sense, like how many ocelots were ever running around in what's now the U.S.?
Well, we do now we have a good idea for the U.S. What was running around? Oh, no, no, not previously. No, no. It was probably many hundreds, at least. Maybe a few thousand.
But can't you guys, when you're doing genetic work, can you guys find. Like, if you got an old bone from one hundred years ago. Isn't there some process by which you get the mitochondrial DNA? From that, and you can tell the effect of. Breeding population size by like how many how many contributing mothers are in the population? Yes, we've done that. My student union Metzker is now professor at Duquesne University in Pittsburgh, but he published four really good arsala genetic papers and one of them was looking at effective population size, and another was just where he documented the the genetic erosion that's been going on from 1985 to 95 and then 2005.
And we've had a very steep decline in genetic variability in the housetop populations. The two populations that occur in Texas, they've lost Sanes called private lils. That's where very few of Lil's a very specific to that population.
We would find only one or two of the Texas populations and compared them with our research in Mexico where we'd find 30 private lils.
So it's just we've lost heterozygous genetic heterozygous city and then the affected population size is very few down to well, we've only really sampled a subset of the population. So, so but it was very few. And then I had another student, Jennifer Korn, look at the inbreeding and we found four or five inbreeding events in both of the populations. So they've got they've got problems.
Can you walk through real quick, I imagine, because you've been in the cat business so long, you probably know this story better than anybody, or at least as well as anybody. What happened with different cat, but has like the inbreeding, wasn't the Florida Panther like severely inbred? And that led to taking lions out of Texas and putting them in Florida. Yes, that's that's the not of the case.
And is that I want to at some point get to, like, why we can't why can't just dump a bunch of in Texas now from Mexico and have the problem taken care of?
Yeah, that's a good story to have in a second.
But one of my former students, David Schindall, is now the Florida Panther lead for Fishwives Service. And so so, yeah, they the Panthers, I think, at one time were estimated 35 or 50 individuals.
And then there is a discussion about bringing Texas and ended up moving of eight or more lions from West Texas into Florida to help with the genetic erosion and Christiania variability. And that that has been very successful. My understanding is they've really the demography of the population has really expanded. And I think it's been helpful by most assessments.
Yeah, it's kind of a deal with the devil a little bit because, yeah, there's one argument, one side of say we want to keep the pure Florida Panthers. Yeah.
The Korei with subspecies. And then the other said, we don't care. We just want Florida Panthers to exist in Florida. And those were the two basic arguments there.
I didn't realize that that you saw the ocelot populations were still collapsing or continued to collapse, like from as recently as 1985 to present. But walk through what happened to. What happened to this cat to get into trouble in the first place? Well, I think the first settlers came and settled on the rivers where the vast populations were. And since we've already said also it's so easy to trap they are and to kill right off the bat.
He had that conflict between humans and people.
And so over over the years, there was a pretty extensive poisoning going on in the 1950s, 40s, 50s for predator control, the health benefit game species.
Why were they pissed that ocelots or the way it was just universal and everything? The strychnine had killed just about everything, because ocelots, they probably kill chickens and stuff.
They're not going to take down cattle or anything. That's the worst thing about it also is it kills chickens. And so it's not a chicken aficionado who cares, you know? And I'd rather have ocelots with they're very they're very a very peaceful cat.
I mean, and that's probably one reason they're easy to catch. A lot of people had them as pets, but they don't they don't hurt livestock.
They don't hurt game species there.
And I think their general demeanor, their very popular pet in the 1960s, I know some of the audience is probably too young to remember who Don Meredith was, you know, but he was he was one of the first commentator on a Monday Night Football, and he was the quarterback for the Dallas Cowboys from 1961 to 68. I believe he had a pet ocelot.
His name is Pepe. And and so he he really enjoyed that cat.
And he came home after losing to the Washington Redskins for a weekend and he got a concussion doing that game and only to find out that the housekeeper had let the cat out and it got ran over. Oh. So it's kind of a double double loss that weekend for Don Meredith. But a lot of people had him as pets in the 50s and 60s and thought it was a glamorous thing to do. If you kept him indoors, though, you regretted it because they would spray urine on everything.
And they have a very distinctive smell in the urine and you don't want to live there for too long after that happens.
Was that still legal in our country in the 60s that you could just take an animal like that out of the wild and turn him into a pet?
Yes, in the 60s, yeah. They didn't become endangered internationally until 1973 and nationally until 1982.
There was a overlook. They missed adding it to the list in 1773.
But yeah. Yeah.
And people have had, um, pets even in the in the 80s and 90s, and he may still be able to do it. If you have all the different permits that's required, it's very difficult to do it now.
Where do they sit on the Endangered Species Act list now? Are they listed as threatened or listed as endangered? They're listed as endangered. OK, yeah. Fewer than 100 left in the United States.
At what year did you take notice of that little film you guys put together?
It mentions how when you first got interested in people told you that you wouldn't be able to catch one because there weren't any to be caught.
Yeah. Yeah. Now, a professor that Neil and I share in common was Dr Jack Inglis.
He was one of my wildlife professors and bet me a bottle of Jack Daniels that I'd never catch an ocelot. And and so luckily I did on March 2nd, 1982, which was Ocelot Day happens to be Texas Independence Day, by the way.
But so I cathars that on that day and a year later, Jack-In-The-Box bought me the bottle of Jack Daniels. Why do you take them a whole year to do it? Well, we only met at a conference a year later and we drove around Austin. They bought that bottle of Jack Daniels.
And every time my students and I got a new species of cat for research, we take a shot out of that bottle.
Yeah. So we've had over twelve shots. We've studied over 12 different kinds of cats inside. And I hope to have a few more shots coming out of it.
Walkthrough. Walk through sort of, you know, like a career path of someone like your interests in career, whatever, to where you got to be like, I'm going try to catch an ocelot and try to trap an ocelot, which supposedly aren't here anymore.
Yeah, if you want to do it as a student, you know, is is that what you mean?
Kind of like how did you get in the situation to even care?
I yeah, I think I think serendipity and luck had to play a lot with it. But I think also hard work puts you in that position to to be at least noticed by you're the next level, the professors that were willing to take a chance on me. And but I've been very lucky throughout my career. I think very fortunate that to do what I am able to do. But I was in the right place to the my Masters. I did OK on my master's projects.
So they offered a PhD which involved ocelots. And then I got with the old trappers the first few months and people that had trapped ocelots for 40 years and kind of learned a lot of techniques from them.
And then I hit the right place. And and that's why it came down to just finding the right place.
Did you grow up hunting, trapping? I did. I hunted.
And yeah, I can think of a little trapping possums and things when I was younger and did some limited hunting when I was a kid, I did some bird hunting, dove hunting duck and but I've gotten where I'm so obsessed now with cats. I don't do I can't fish, I can't run. I can't do anything except read or study about cats. And it's a I probably need some psychoanalysis for that. But but but I. So that was yeah.
I was an outdoors. I was a bird watcher. I don't know. I consider myself an animal just and I learned early on that people well that ornithologist didn't have as much fun as gemologist had. And so I ended up becoming a mammal just instead of graphologist, at least in my opinion. I think they may argue that with Rithy Baginda.
So you caught you first one in 82. And what was that was the reason that you needed to go out and catch Nasacort?
We got a contract from the Wildlife Service to study our as they put him on the endangered species list that year.
They wanted to have a little bit of information and found to find out even if they existed in the state. I had several grey hairs and professors tell me they no longer occurred in Texas, that they've been extirpated, but people were just hitting them with cars and stuff.
No, not well. If they were they weren't being reported back then, because that's the weird thing about with the Florida Panthers, right?
It'd be like, oh, there's only thirty left. But then every year three of em get hit by cars.
Yeah, that's right. That's why I signed the picture that you could hide. It's a parallel with ocelots there.
But the Refuge Lagoona escosa refuge where I began some of that work, the refuge staff didn't know they had him there.
They knew they had him in the mid 60s when they did some predator trapping. They found somebody, they got ten years and then he realized they had him. And they probably have always had about seven to 14 hour slots even now.
Are they just super secretive? They're secretive, the nocturnal. And they they like and they enjoy really dense brush brush that no one wants to walk into. So those three factors alone makes them a lot of ranchers will not allow a few ranchers have all sorts, but they didn't know it because of those three factors.
I would just think that with. I mean, I guess it's testament to how few there maybe were, I would think that with guys out Predator calling. In Bobcat Trapper's. That if there was one left, someone would have it. Well, again, you're right. I consider roads a very effective sampling technique. Yeah. You know, if a population is somewhere they're going to get run over.
That's why Harry and the Hendersons would happen for real if there were Bigfoot.
Now, that's the view, that same example, like if they were there, someone would run over and it wouldn't be like a secretive thing now and they would just be a big dead one in the road.
And then when it when I expressed my doubt about that, I start getting hate mail from Michigan, Wisconsin. So I don't talk about Bigfoot anymore. Yeah, no. Yeah. You don't want to talk about Bigfoot.
They there's some serious people out there still convinced with that being like as a mileages, they'd be right in your wheelhouse, right?
Yeah. Yeah. But I'm going in a different direction, OK. You don't want to be implicated in this conversation. I'm kind of figuring out how to get out of it, actually.
So anyways, I was saying with all these ways in which they could that ocelots.
Yeah, I guess the point what I'm saying is this I always struggle with.
Lazarus speaking this, trying to use the term Lazarus species like species that rise from the dead, right.
So like black footed ferret, it's gone and it's like, holy shit, it's not gone. The guy's dog just dragged one miles. All right.
And then the Tasmanian devil. Was that was that animal called Kallum trying to engage with cow throwing them, I'm throwing them an easy one. What is the animal that is most similar to a Tasmanian devil? No, they have a better name than Tasmanian devil. Like the tiger, the Tasmanian tiger, they're still trying to say Tasmanian Tiger senior or something like that, right?
Right. Yeah, that thing.
Yeah, that is that's like the saddest picture of all is like the this cool looking straight dog cat combo that is in a jail and it's like the last one.
But people have been every year feeling like they saw one. Yes.
You know, well that's the equivalent of Jaguar undies in Texas, in the United States, throughout the South to this day. I have biologist. And we were just talking about it. I've had five or six, what I consider famous biologist argue with me about Jagger and these occurring throughout the South Florida. Texas, in my opinion, in these don't exist haven't existed in Texas since the last row, killed in 1986. But do you have a lump in 86?
Someone ran over Jagger Jacaranda in Texas?
Well, yeah, in April of 1986 to two miles east of Brownsville. Also very close to not being in Texas.
Yeah, there you go. Yeah, well, they were never located north of the Rio Grande Valley anyway, although people think they occur throughout the south.
Hmm. So there you are, it's the early 80s, some people say there may be gone, I would have been there, definitely gone. If someone thinks there may be gone, I'd say they're gone.
Oh, you know what? Here's another one. Everybody still looking for the ivory billed woodpecker?
Yeah, well, I saw when I was back when I was a bird watcher by that's what year it would be early 70s.
Oh, yeah. I thought I saw one anyway.
But I'm sure it was a palliated. But no one's laid eyes on one since. I don't know. But every year people go looking for him. Yeah. Yeah. And they see what we, what we call where I'm from. Pileated woodpeckers.
Yeah. Pileated woodpeckers. And it's the same phenomena I think the bigfoot of the Loch Ness Monster. Here's another thing.
To have a viable population of any species, you need 50 or more individuals to live for 100 years.
OK, but who gets to make that? Who gets to say that? That's the truth that came out. Michael's the late 1980s was like the beginning of MVP's minimum viable populations of discussions and in a sense became much more complicated since then.
But that's what he's like. So he's like, hear ye. Hear ye. Yeah. If you have fifty of something.
Well, and that's a computer modeling, we'll show that for a lot of species. And now it's called population viability analysis. We've done two different pastie projects on that. You put in all these live parameters and you can estimate how long a population of a certain size will persist over time.
I guess I'm incredulous of it because I could see if you said four large mammals, for instance, it would take a population of X, right. For large marine mammals, it would require. And but if we're talking about a plant there, I'm saying it's a generation.
Time is an important part of a mouse. This is an elephant. Yeah. And it's part of this modeling. It's there are a lot of variables that go on this modeling, but there's there's been much research done on that. But the gist of it is, is if you have a very small population, it's very unlikely to survive, survive a long period of time. So so I kind of call a viable population of a Bigfoot or Loch Ness monster.
You probably need at least 50 of them. You're going to have 50 Loch Ness Monster.
You probably need several logs, you know, to have a population. I went to that loch one time and looked out upon it. That's the anything I wish you were more. Would you like to talk about Bigfoot, because I could be sitting and talking to you. I could get better arguing with Bigfoot people. Yeah, yeah, no, I I'll call you sometime, get letters, you could give me a crash course on what one might say in an argument with Bigfoot people to make you seem more right for you to those threatening letters that I got.
So viable population question is like, so right now, you know, like when you're looking at wolf reintroduction. The lowest folks are willing to go is 100 animals. That's like the bare minimum. There's a lot of folks that. Ah, it'd be like pulling teeth to get them to go below 250 animals, and that's a pretty fast reproducing animal. You know, I was just doing a lot of research on Australian lyrebirds, which are pretty darn cool.
That's a songbird.
That doesn't. Even get around to thinking about reproduction on the male or female side till they're between five and seven years old and it's like think at all the stuff you got to survive to get to five or seven years old and you're a ground dwelling.
Songbird in a country with six million feral cats or cats. Yeah, mongoose is feral cats.
Yeah, kids with slingshots, B.B. guns.
And so, like, how does that I understand, like, the model was set up to be manipulated, but it is something that seems like it is kind of an arbitrary number.
Well, that's another variable that goes into the model is is aged the first reproduction. And what it turned out for ocelots and many of the cats is how many how long does a breeding female produce young and how many young do they produce? And ocelots typically only have one to two young compared to bobcat's to two to four.
And then so and also reproduce well into the years. The Bill Swanson, who is an expert in also reproduction Cincinnati Zoo, will have reproductively active males well beyond 10 years. And same thing for females, the last reproductive age. So there are all these variables kind of go under these models, and I'm by no means an expert on them.
That's why we have other people to him.
But and it's really and you really have to take it with a lot of a grain of salt.
It just kind of really gives you an idea of of say, I'd rather put in two hundred fifty wolves than a hundred wolves because of these factors.
And for us, it helped us identify what what kind of information do we need most? And what it turned out to be was how many young does a female produce for how many years? And so it really kind of guides you into what kind of information to collect to get more refined, refined estimates and and things to worry about and not worry about.
I want to keep moving with the chronology of of the like, the story of the ocelot. But if at some point there's a way to weave this in, I'd like to understand this.
We will often say that if a female of whatever species as they were, talk about ocelots, like if she can successfully produce.
To. If she can have two offspring that make it to a breeding age. She was successful and you would hold the population. Like the population remains static. Is that like an acceptable thing to say to somebody, well, what is it, the humans, you have to have at least two point three humans to maintain that, OK? Well, I learned that 20 years ago, maybe actually by now.
But but I think about that with Sam and and stuff. Right. Is there dropping, I don't know, thousands of eggs. And it'd be like if two of those eggs makes it the official successful. Yeah. Yeah. Two of the eggs out of here with sturgeon. They're putting in producing in a lifetime millions of eggs in two of those make it.
That's a successful fish. Yeah, and they're you know, they're their strategies just produce eggs and there's no parental care. And then you have the reverse where elephants may put in years for for making sure the young survive to the breeding age. So you have everything in between. But yeah, I two point three humans, I guess, to replace that. And that seems logical, I guess.
Can you real quick explain those strategies where you have like they have letters applied to them. Right. Like the rabbit strategy or whatever.
Oh k k selected species and the selected species. Yeah. Yeah that's right. I mean like you have a tournament, don't pay any attention to him. Yeah.
That's our select or selected species. And help me Neil, if I'm wrong.
Selected species is where they invest a lot of energy and time in raising the young and making sure they reach breeding age. Yeah.
Like a BlackBerry. Right. She's going to spend she's spent two years. Tutoring her offspring, caring for and tutoring her offspring. Yeah, yeah, in a it's like see you, you know. Yeah, yeah. I want to live.
You could get out of here. And I just know I know a lot of people like that, you know, the rodents and everything else.
What was it that you actually wanted the ocelot for when you went out to catch one, when you said, I'm going study ocelots people, I proud that I need to study or whatever. But like what what really were you wanting?
What we had everything. You could list that at the time we wanted to learn about it, its home range, size, how many there were, what kind of social organization do they have? What are their activity? Just the basic natural history.
Like enough to fill out a Audobon Guidebook. Yeah, and we probably did. And we probably did at the time.
We that was the very first ocelots study and another one in Venezuela a few months later. But nothing was known at that time about ocelots.
It was the first ocelots. Yeah. Yeah. When you learn from the when when you had to go ask around about how to go get one.
Lay out like what kind of sets you were making and how you were catching them, because it's kind of weird.
It's like a thing I haven't seen a strategy that I don't know why it's not more widely used.
Well, we used to birds. Yeah, we use box well, and they stay alive, by the way. So we make that point. We use box train. I mean, OK, sure.
Tomahawk likes to imagine the night they imagine the night that pigeon spends separated by some quarter inch mash from a Nazli.
We started off with chickens for the first 20 or 30 years and it's amazing. It's not what you would think. I would walk up in the morning to check traps and also be sound asleep.
And the chicken was trying to pick fleas off the ears of Ocelot multiple times.
That happened several times. They attained a relationship during the night. So it doesn't destroy the chicken psyche. Not well. It's hard to tell a chicken psyche. But I couldn't. I don't. I didn't detect that. No, yeah. No, I'm not condemning.
I mean, it's like plus you have every justification when you're trying to like find out what's going on with something that's going to be like wiped off the face of the earth if it gives a chicken a.
Yeah. A little bit of a heart for it. Well, Ted was my favorite rooster and and he did he he lost one eye in a battle with the raccoon and things.
But this is a 1982 83. But he persisted and he got several slots. Big White Rooster.
I would place the roosters a certain distance apart so early morning they'd be crowing to each other.
Oh, it's like a natural predator to call those. I'm sure it helped ocelots. That's a great idea. Trust me, because I went through this before shopping for life insurance can be, you know, daunting, but up policy genius makes it much easier. They combine a cutting edge insurance marketplace with help from licensed experts. Say you bunch of time, bunch of money right now, you could save 50 percent or more by using policy genius to compare life insurance.
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So can we.
I want to know why we don't eat chickens anymore. Oh, pigeons now. Well, they cramped too much and eat too much food. The basic reason is pigeons. It's cheaper. What did they do? Less of both. The less defecation problem, less and less food. And and they're very happy. And the birds we take. Very good. I mean, the you wouldn't believe the care. We take care of the pigeons and the aviary.
They're treated treated very well.
And so but it is very effective. And so I so I use white pigeons to try to increase the light during the night and and we'll catch as many bobcats and ocelots, typically 100 trap night, 150 trap nights to catch one. I'll slaughter one bobcat. That's ten traps out for 15 nights to get a 150 trap nights or one trap for one night is one trap night trick. So they're pretty easy. But Jagga undies in Mexico is over a thousand trap nights of when Jaguar and they're very, very difficult to catch and that's why no one's published on it, I guess.
So far I explain the set like the set for an ocelot and I want to get back into the bait thing too.
OK, well first you find out where there is a local road kill, if you can. So there's probably a population nearby. Then you look for the densest brush near that road.
Kill just one road kill. Pretty much. Yeah, not all.
But it probably 80 percent of it will reflect where population is. Yeah, it's a really pretty effective and you can't be telling me that every time you drive down the Southern Texas Highway and you see a road kill, that there's a population of ocelots nearby.
Well, there have been very few locations of road kills. There have only been near the two populations of an ocelot.
Yeah, sorry. Yeah, no, I was. Oh, my God.
You thought he manero. Yeah, I'm thinking. Oh, there's dead. No guiles set off a slideshow. No, no, it's you find the recent ocelot roadkill dead and then go from there.
Yeah but they're one. But in 82 there weren't any dead plants on the road.
There wasn't. And I understand now the refuge only had seven 14 and no one had reported the recent Coslett road kill there.
The other larger population, 80 percent of all sorts occur on on five to seven ranches, large ranchers. And you were probably on one of them, the Hacienda Teria Ranch just recently. We believe there's probably some nearby there. But these are large ranches away from the two roads that are there. There are only two highways. And so so the big populations away from roads, that that explains part of it.
So when you went out to make the catch one, you just went to the last place like like, you know, I mean, how did you decide? Like, well, here's a place to try. Well, I had to go to the last place known to have seen one or some couple of old trappers told me where they trapped them in the past.
Oh, OK. And and sure enough, they it's really the same place. They've been trapping them since 1940s and 50s and they're still there in those few places. Can't talk about the set, no box trap. So we find the densest brush and the largest patch of that dense brush that we can throw in. Shrub is their habitat. They'll be 35 different species of thorny shrub species. They're amazingly, beautifully complex shrub community. Any place we can find a trail in that that we can get to easily or where a trail intersects another trail, have it increases your odds.
So so we'd look for that. And so history of cats, good habitat, and then looking for trail sites, a place to trap. And then and then a pretty good chance you'll catch a cat if there's one there in a short period of time. You know, we didn't talk about that, I meant to ask about what? What were people doing with them when they were trapped on, like, whatever in the 40s, 50s, 60s when they were getting knocked?
Oh, yeah. Yeah, they were. They were. They sell them in the fur markets. Yeah. Yeah, they were.
There's a record I just sent Knill from the 1940s of these two ocelots that are trapped in Star County, which is right adjacent real grandee.
And he he he sold them for two dollars and fifty cents per pelt. So they would sell them in the old days and like a lot of the pelts they sell.
So you could go down and get like yourself like an ocelot jacket or something back then. Yeah.
Yeah. If you go back far enough and time, there is a very popular trading thing and the frontier people didn't have cash, they didn't spend money. So if you wanted to to get some milk or some eggs, you'd trade something. And often Apelt also Apelt was very valuable in trading in the Comanche's would use them for Saddle's.
They would just throw Mossop Pelt on the horse and then ride on. That is kind of variety.
Just I'll ride the quivers for Theros would be like Quivers al-Saad Pelt's, which is really interesting how it was important in the frontier times.
Just because they were so cool looking probably. Exactly. Yeah. So when you call it the first one, would you catch it. A chicken or pigeon.
The very first one of all the cats we've got or 50. We technically got it on a padded leg hold trap.
A tune out here was free live trap before you were using live traps. Yeah. And we in our federal parliament, we had in there the fact that we could use lako traps, box traps or even hounds. OK, and and Jarmo, my buddy who's out of Maine, helped me catch that first ocelot on the on the Guadaloupe ranch. And he was a.
Working on so he had the paralegals and so on so that all the other cats since then, since that very first cat have been with box. So five days later, we got another kind of another slot with a box.
So so. Yeah, and and the chicken thing is worked around the world. Again, we've we've traveled 12 different species of cats, own chickens. So it's kind of amazing how you got a box trap.
And in the back of the where you put the bait, there's a separate little cage. Exactly.
The bird hangs out there and they're protected and their food and water all they want to eat. But cats like chickens.
And he comes in there and triggers a thing and kicks the tree or whatever, and the door shuts. Exactly. Yeah. Yeah, we used to put lures sometimes or we'd hang some flagging, hang a feather so blows in the wind or some fur we found, or we don't even need to use lure if you just have the bird there that works as good as anything.
No. Find that thing. Yeah. Yeah. No lure.
Well, yeah, I like that one trick. Put them out so they crawl back and forth. Yeah.
Yeah. It made me feel good. They made me think that I actually had to figure it out and stuff but I don't know, I think it helped a little house. Oh God.
I was going to say your doing in that video though was doing a little like covering the floor of that trap.
So they are sensitive a little bit to the to the metal.
Well, I try to teach that to make sure I teach the perfect set and the setting dirt on the mantel in the middle and and in case it and brush. So there's only one entrance from the front and I give him the perfect scenario. But but I've put traps where they're even sitting almost in the air and sometimes and so I start off with the ideal trap. But you can at least four hour slots, you can catch them. Otherwise not a perfect trap set.
Did it make the news when you caught one or was there like was there media around the fact that you started catching them?
No, I was for the first two years, I thought that it was I would catch them and work them up all by myself. And and I always thought this is a very I felt like it should have more attention that it was getting. I was just there by myself and in doing the cat research and and a couple of years later, there started to be some media things.
Yeah, well, after a while there was a ton of media things. Yeah.
There have been a variety of there have been a lot of things over the years.
And then when you came into it, I would have thought that at that point they get s.a protection and what.
Eighty two. Eighty two for the USA. Why did that not lead to. Why was that insufficient? Too, like, why were the numbers still going down, like in 85, they're still going down. Wait. The numbers were probably very similar, but the genetic erosion of the same population, we were monitoring decline of heterozygous, the genetic variation. So that's why I was going down the numbers for probably about the same, I think for the last since we started 30 years ago, the numbers have always been about the same.
But they they increase in wet years and you have high prey. But when the droughts hit, you get a two, three year drought. It affects this household survival. We've documented that through our research that you get a severe drought six months into it. The vegetation is really pretty much gone. The rodents and rabbits decline from that vegetation. And then you see value of our reproduction about about 12, 12, 18 months later.
And that can only go for so long when you have so few cats and and the ocelots disperse a lot of the sub, the subordinate or subdominant individuals will disperse. And we found that the home ranges of the residents will expand. So and the residents will survive because they've got it figured out. They know what the home range is. They know where to to hide, where they find food every night. They they really intensively explore their home range and they have an understanding of real time understanding of where the prey is, where the dangers are, where the coyotes risk are and things.
And so they know when the prey starts to decline, the residents probably push off. The dispersers and the dispersers are the ones that die. They have much lower survival.
They die from roadkill. Yeah. Yeah.
Like ours. Yeah. That's number one for mortality. Now it's road kills. What else you were mentioning coyotes. Cowards to kill them. We've never documented that. I'm sure it wouldn't be. It would happen for kittens at least. But the fact that they use really dense brush, most of the time coyotes will go into that brush. But if a pack of coyotes found one in the open, it probably would be a problem.
But there's enough other things that will kill them. We've had had them die from rattlesnake bites, ingesting a grasper into the lungs. Oh, yeah, mange.
You lose them to just people being like, what the hell is that? And then shoot it, which seems to be a real thing. Well, it happened only once that I can think of in the late 1990s.
You did it, Neal. No, no.
I wouldn't have done to find myself. I just I have a wife. That was it. Not me. That was exactly. Yeah, well, that's that's how you got interested in the subject. The story I heard was, was it was one hunter out of Houston shot one with a bow and arrow.
Yeah. Because because he was a bobcat. Okay. And about one out of ten of bobcats have spots just like an ocelot. So so it's really hard to distinguish.
Well, but you get the whole tail problem. Yeah.
You know, and a bobcat has sometimes surprisingly long tails, six inches, you know, so so someone who's not out there hunting all the time can fall into that. Yeah. That happens all the time, even with people that know what they're looking at. I was a young biologist. I was it was about 1984, 1985. And I was working on a piece of ground and called Mike toois out in 1985 and told him that he that a buddy of mine and myself had seen an ocelot and it was close by Jim Wells County.
And sure enough, an awful lot population hadn't been found there since Bobcat has bobcat.
We don't know what you're talking about. What if someone were to say. If the population just doesn't seem to have changed since 1982. That maybe, in fact, they're not endangered, maybe they're just aren't that many of them. Never were in art. Well, we're just how do you handle it? How how do you handle that question? Yeah, it's a good question. It's there are definitely many more in the range of Mexico, Central and South America.
There are thousands there where so it's we're really talking about the U.S. population, which is fewer than 100. And and so it is probably the hardest question to answer. Why should we care? Why should we spend a lot of money for. I don't struggle that one, but go on.
OK, so some people do. And and I just.
For me, it's just that the people that are involved with not conservation have already gone past that question, regardless of what kind of argument you want to use. They're determined. They want to keep them for whatever reason. And there are variety of reasons. Well, I wanted to get into that.
Sell me on. Want to keep them. I mean, I'm on board because I don't like I don't like us playing God and deciding that we're going to eliminate species from the planet, but.
Sell me on that idea, but but what about I mean but also like talk about the one I'm talking about where if since the moment, the first time someone ever started them, they found it looks basically like this and then that's that remains static.
For 30, 40 years. How do you demonstrate that there's a problem because there's no baseline, there's no real baseline idea, right? If you were going in an 80 to to do like baseline data gathering and not like what are things supposed to look like, but what do they look like? And it looked like that and it still looks like that. How do you convince people that we're facing a problem?
Well, I think that just the fact when that one what we call the refugee population only has seven to 14 individuals, if you're lucky, you have half of that is female seven.
And there's a thing called demographic stochastic city.
Sooner or later you're going to have you're going to have 14 males and no females. And just by chance, over time, that's what happened with this seaside dusky sparrow came down to six individuals. They all turned out to be males and that was extinction.
Oh, you mean there are some real, practical, practical reasons why we should think that they were more widely spread right now, if you were to look on the coast in the center of the population for ocelots, we had Hurricane Hanna come through, what was it, maybe five, six weeks ago, maybe a little bit longer.
Hurricane Hanna was Category one hurricane. The eye of that hurricane came right over top dead center, the center of the universe for ocelots in Texas. If, in fact, that would have been, say, a Category four hurricane like Hurricane Laura that hit the southwest coast of Louisiana, we probably would have lost that population of ocelots.
So if you've got a guy you saying you've got him geographically confined in an area right there and they all exist, you know, 80 percent of them got to be below 20 foot in elevation.
And you get a storm surge, you get the you know, you get everything that comes along with a major hurricane.
There's no way that they will last and will last for very much longer, just with that one particular source of, you know, potential catastrophe to them.
Yeah, I got you. That's an interesting point. Also, that idea that if you have, like, carrying capacity for such a small number, I never thought about the fact that you could wind up in a situation where they're all the same gender.
Yeah, that's the demographic toxicity. You got the environmental stochastics, you get a five year, ten year drought that might do it.
And every hundred years we get you get a five or ten year drought and we've got habitat elsewhere not not right next to it, but habitat elsewhere. That's perfectly good.
Ocelot habitat not occupied. What is what is not? What is like not worked?
Why is NSA protection not been, I guess if you look at NSA protection, is being keep it from going extinct, we're here to keep from going extinct.
I mean, that's not what it is. But if you look at that being success, you could argue like, OK, it was successful because they're not extinct.
But if you look at NSA protection as being a vehicle that would lead to recovery and it's not a one way road and the expectation would be, you know, it only happens two percent of the time.
I'm not saying that's the fault of the NSA, but has a very low success rate in terms of something going on the NSA list. And getting off. There's two percent of things I think a variety of things happens, it goes on and then they realize that it shouldn't have gone on because they find other populations. It goes on and it's already gone. Or it goes on and becomes gone. Yeah, so not many things make it off, but what like what is preventing since 1982 to now, what has made it that now we're not like the same way we are about bald eagles, where you always get sick of looking at bald eagles?
And in Texas, it's 97 percent private land, probably unlike any other state of Texas, retained its private land.
So any management, conservation of wildlife is dependent on private landowners. And in Nelkin, probably dresses as good as anyone that this incentives that are built into the Danger Species Act and the fear that many landowners have, that they'll lose their ability to manage the the lands they wanted in the way that they want to, gives them no incentive to even identify that they have an endangered species on their property, in their view. For many of them, it's a disincentive.
Neal, you think?
Yeah, so. I mean, if you look at ocelots, for example, 100 ocelots, probably greater than 70 percent of those ocelots are on private land.
Capsis And these are large ranches. There's against the tide. Desire by those private landowners to somehow conserve ocelots for reasons of their own, some of those are stewardship reasons that it would be a shame, given that treasure that exist on those lands, to let that species go extinct. Now, if you look over at the Endangered Species Act and let's say it's a stream of paper, you know, they just print the whole act out and everything that has to do with it about a ream of paper, about two sheets of those paper say something about private lands.
And basically it says, thou shalt not kill an endangered species intentionally absolute, except for some cases on some nuanced exceptions with wolves and other things.
And and thou shalt not take an endangered species incidental to any other land use practice.
That's it, once they that last part again, thou shalt not take an endangered species as an as it being incidental to an otherwise legal land use practice example, that an example of that and the example of an ocelot is if you've got a fence line that runs through ocelot habitat and you were to disturb the habitat by clearing out that fence line that might be considered by U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to be an action that alters the behavior or the breeding probabilities of ocelots.
And therefore, it's a prohibited act under the authority, I think meant they would lead to the direct death of not that it could lead to.
That's that's what it originally was meant for in the act.
But it's interpreted now as deteriorating habitat type or whatever affecting that behavior to take just effect to make sure.
Yeah. And of course, that, you know, we came up with that and what, 1972. Right. So we're driving a 1972 Ford Galaxie 500 policy, trying to work with 2020 conditions, trying to work with things like groups of landowners that are trying to work with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to figure out how to recover an endangered species. And the Fish and Wildlife Service, sometimes through no fault of their own, can't figure out how to get out of the way and to let it happen go.
And, you know, it's been called at least once vigilante conservation.
You know, when that was first laid out there that way, I thought, well, what kind of a pejorative term? But then when you really think about it, Vigilante is a group of citizens that have taken up a cause because the officials that are supposed to be doing it have abandoned the cause.
And so we'll be an example of vigilante conservation. Vigilante conservation would be a group of a group of landowners, for example. And in this particular situation, we have landowners that know they have ocelots.
That would like to do three or four things, one is to survive for those ocelots to know where they are, where they are and how many of them there are.
Well, if you do that, then there's some confidentiality standards that those landowners would like. They'd like for that information not to be leaked to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service simply because the Fish and Wildlife Service would then have to make that available to a lot of these organizations that would file lawsuits and force the Fish and Wildlife Service to do the two things that landowners like, don't like to hear and that's enforce and have the authority over. And so if they don't.
OK. If you want like a rancher wants to know, a landowner wants to know, do I have I think they're like maybe they're like I think they're totally cool. I wish I had more. I'd like to know if I have one, but I don't want the feds to know. Who are they trusting to sort of like keep track? That's the that's the problem.
And part of the problem is you're you're inclined to not allow people like Mike toois to put his graduate students and researchers on the ground to survey for ocelots because it's going to lead to trouble.
Yeah. You know, we think they're somewhere in the neighborhood of 100 ocelots in Texas. There could be more. It's it's an unknown. So that's an extrapolation, right? We don't know how many there are. We don't know exactly where they are. We've got some known populations.
One known population is on the East Foundation's LSD ranch.
So we've got the the largest population known and we're not afraid of the Endangered Species Act or the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, perhaps foolishly. But nevertheless, we're not afraid. We're you know, we're going to continue to to work the.
Research management recovery system, and we feel like it's a stewardship responsibility, as do other ranchers, to recover that species, there's for for whatever reason. And and it can be a religious reason. It can be a reason that, look, we don't want this to go out on my watch, whatever that is.
But but you got to take into account in that at least in that part of the state and the state that has 142 million acres of private lands. Those private landowners are, by and large the best conservationists there are I mean, they care about that land, they care they've got a stake in it, and they've got a stake in the future reputation for themselves as ranchers and caretakers of that of that ground. That's the scenario we're finding with ocelots as we just simply.
Are trying to figure out how to get rid of the disincentives and be able to assure private landowners in and around that ocelot population that they can allow monitoring, research and then proactive measures for, say, translocation, we're doing things like collecting semen from male ocelots so that we can perhaps impregnate zoo ocelots and have offspring that we might be able to either from a wild population or from or from that cross-bred zoo population, create another translocated population elsewhere so that we don't have to worry about that next hurricane that comes through turning into a Category four.
Yeah, I mean, the clock is ticking on that type of catastrophe. When you get a population confined to that small of a geographic area and they're that small, if you had to if you had to characterize the.
If you had to characterize the sort of anti Fed sentiment around, let's say someone is they know, their family knows they have ocelots on their property, they don't want to be rolled up into any kind of activities with the scientific community at the federal level for fear that someone's going to come in and go like, oh, my gosh, you do have ocelots.
I'm shutting this place down because you need not to be allowed to do X, Y and Z. Maybe you're not going to be able to do the very things that made it that it was good. Ocelot habitate anyways, like sort of having economic viability on your property, which makes it that you don't need to develop it, for instance. Exactly.
But do you find it like the average sentiment?
That's like the anti Fed sentiment is educated and precise, meaning they're like, oh, I would love to tell them, but if I tell them, then this could happen to me and it would look like this.
Or is it just generally I hate the feds.
I think it's across the board, obviously, because, I mean, you got I mean, in our our state, we've got 350000 decision makers, 350000 landowners. So it's going to be across the board there. So and and there's experiences that they've seen with other species. So you take something like the golden cheak warbler that may have been used in some cases to halt development in and around the Austin area and take something like the dunes sagebrush lizard that in some cases was used to halt oil and gas development in the Permian Basin, like was used opportunistically.
Sure. Yeah. She's like someone wanted the thing to happen and that was the way to make it or somebody wanted something to not happen.
And that bird or that lizard was a way to make it not happen. So that gave you the legal it gave you legal grounds to get your way.
Now, we've got the flip side of the coin with the Ocelot rule. Interestingly, there's there's organizations that use it as a mascot for fundraising that that then don't do much for the ocelot.
We've got I think it's a this is a good thing. Our Texas Department of Transportation, you can get an Ocelot license plate, OK, there's more Ocelot license plates in Texas than there are ocelots in Texas. And you can see, in fact, you can see more driving between San Antonio and Austin. You can see more Ocelot license plates than there are ocelots in deep south Texas. So people love them. You know, you'll see ranchers with ocelot license plates and, you know, ranchers love them.
They want to figure out how to recover ocelots without putting large ownership's that depend on economic viability yet at stake. And so they need assurances.
And so and I think it's I think it boils down to, you know, just raw trust in economics. And it's not just and it's not that there's bad people. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is good people there. They're court managing an act that in some cases is antiquated.
And there's sophisticated organizations that have figured out how to sue them, and they know in every conversation you'll have with the Fish and Wildlife Service over anything, it'll all come down to, you know, OK, what happens when, you know, Group X, group Y or Z sues us because we've worked out a deal with you as a private landowner.
So, OK, here's how we're going to here's how we're going to make sure that we're fully solid on our conservation measures were legal on maintaining confidentiality, all of these hoops that you've got to jump through.
And for some landowners that just look, I'm suspicious when I have to apply for permits. When you're telling me you have enforcement authority over me and those types of things.
So I think in the spirit of antiquated and sophisticated, we should really take a quick crack at. Defining vigilante again, I think yeah, I think that was, if I may, slightly.
Romanticized Texan definition of vigilante. OK, where oftentimes.
And especially if we look back through history at our vigilante groups, some would characterize the Texas Rangers as one of them, that they aren't just folks stepping in and taking care of things that aren't getting done, like it's implied that it's like justice being done.
But oftentimes that's some self-serving. Justice as well. All right. So, yeah, if you top it with the word conservation, then you're sort of qualifying it from vigilante.
Alcoholism. I'm fine with that. That's a fair that's a fair comment, because if I said vigilante charity, right, vigilante charity, you'd be like, I don't know what it is, but it sounds like a good thing. Yeah, it sounds like somebody throwing money out the window. That's great.
So I was led to ride because it's a vigilante conservation, not vigilante type structure.
Take a push at it because I use that one all the time. So I'm like, no, no.
I think just revisiting that point is all that was needed. So the computer has spoken.
FSA reform, the Endangered Species Act reform. Is one of those things I'm like, you hear it all the time and I'm leery about it because I support it, but I don't support it in the way that other people support it. It's one of those things that's become to mean.
It's become. It's it's happened to the word conservation, like I say, on pro conservation, you know, different politicians say I'm pro conservation. Like, what exactly do you mean? And you realize that they're talking about something that you're not talking about. And a lot of people to talk about Endangered Species Act reform.
A significant amount are saying what I mean by that is I would like the damn thing to go away in a significant amount are saying, I mean, that it could be more effective if we change it.
And make it more flexible to account for, like what you're talking about, you know, in the situation of the ocelot.
So for me to now say if someone asked, like, do you support Endangered Species Act reform, I'd have to say I'll have to ask you a series of questions before I answer, because I don't know what you're getting at.
Yeah, I agree with you when I say that. And I and I don't say reform often. I just say changes to the Endangered Species Act or how it's administered, not care which I'm looking for better performance on private lands and why that what's what's the big deal there?
When you look at more than one third of endangered species that are currently listed entirely depend on private lands and somewhere in the neighborhood of 75 percent have a large portion of their range across private lands.
So if we've got an Endangered Species Act that's not performing as well as it could perform on private lands, then. Maybe it needs some reform, but I get it about being worried about cracking the act open. You know, if we're driving that 1972 Galaxie 500, you know, we crack it open. We want to really polster the seats and put a new, more efficient engine in it. So it's not getting three miles to the gallon. Somebody else might want to put a whole bunch of other stuff in there.
Yeah. That, you know, and oftentimes you'll hear people just lay out, you know, the one liner will the act needs more teeth. Well, that's one of those things. That means a different thing to different people. You know, oftentimes when someone says that, they basically mean we want the Fish and Wildlife Service to be more like policemen and enforcement officers rather than doing whatever it takes by any means possible to result in the recovery of endangered species across all lands, whether it's public lands or private lands.
I think it would be phenomenal if we could find ways to better if we could find ways to better work with private landowners on essay issues in a way that still allowed the ultimate goal to move forward.
But I do think that the way we do it now and the way that we handle private interest leads to a thing where it's kind, like the spotted owl syndrome, where a spotted owl.
After the whole debacle with logging in the spotted owl, a spotted owl didn't mean that word didn't mean a bird anymore, right. Like when you hear the word spotted owl, you don't think like, oh, it's a little owl.
There's an old growth forest. You think like spotted owl is federal overreach. Right?
Because there are things that we do that really there are things that we do in the service of prolonging or saving species that makes them have like this entirely negative connotation in people's heads who have to suffer the most, I think. And around here in this neck of the woods, the most egregious examples are what's been done to people around s.A. Listing for wolves in ESEA listings for grizzlies, which they've been recovered by definition for decades. Yet you continue to make it hard on private landowners to go about their business because we like.
Sure. Move the move the needle to move the goalposts all along. And then that creates a sort of like this anti-war sentiment, this anti grizzly sentiment that I don't think it's necessary to create the anti wolf anti grizzly sentiment.
Like, I don't think that you have to make that in order to save those things. There has to be a way to reduce the friction and still hit the ultimate outcome.
And it would probably come around from some form of reform. Sure.
And I know what you're talking about. I was a I was a wildlife biologist for a timber company in the Pacific Northwest in the early 1990s. And so I was hated from both sides. Right, because I was inside the timber company. So I was hated by the loggers. But then you a biologist? Yeah, I was a biologist, so I was hated by the others.
But learn learn to learn to work, put habitat conservation plans together so that we could live with the spotted owl.
There were huge financial reasons to do that. And so in in the Pacific Northwest, around spotted owls, marble murrelets, Pacific salmon, there's huge financial interests at being able to put together some type of collaborative deal, a habitat conservation plan that worked for private lands and worked for endangered species. We don't necessarily have that with all species in all places. You know, when you've got a small salamander that shuts down what you think is a housing development that ought to go forward, you're likely to just shake your fist.
If you're the housing developer at that salamander, figure out how you can hide the fact that it's there.
You know, we don't want it on our property. It it in and of itself becomes the enemy. Right. We've got to figure out how to remove the disincentives. And in this the canned comment. Right. Remove the disincentives and create incentives.
That's easy to say. It's hard to do. It's a really hard thing to do to create those out of the box incentives that always work with private landowners. But it is, too. Steel is the number one selling brand of gasoline powered hand-held outdoor power equipment in America, and it's built right here in America, in Virginia Beach, Virginia.
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Like oil extraction, like what's the thing that they're mostly worried about losing, they're mostly worried about losing their ability to make spot decisions on land use. So, for example, the fence line situation I was telling you about, you know, I've I've been worried on our own lands about road clearing and habitat that we might lose when we need to come in and clear an area so that we can increase increase the the forage production capacity for the land.
Those types of decisions like creating a pasture for cattle. Exactly. Exactly.
You need to make sure that, you know, we're not we're in a situation where we've got on staff scientists, biologists and managers that no one understand that. So we can craft a solution. We've got our friend right next door with Mike to is the, you know, a preeminent ocelot ecologist.
But not every landowner feels that comfortable. And they tend if you're a large ranch, you might have a family that you're responsible to and a board of directors that you're responsible to.
And you've got a fiduciary responsibility to make sure that you don't lose your ability to manage that land. You don't lose your ability to graze a 10000 acre pasture.
Let's say we've got to figure out how to make sure that people don't lose, that they gain the incentive or or remove the disincentive for at least raising their hand and saying, you know, I've got ocelots here. They are working with, you know, Cesar Clayburgh group over here. But the first way to do that is to make sure that there's some confidentiality. So as they're stepping into the game, so to speak, there, they can do it with some safety.
They can do with a is it I guess it's got to be is it legal for someone to know? That they have something. Right. OK, let's say it is an endangered species, right? And you got a ranch and you know it's on there. This is not like illegal for you to keep that secret.
Nothing wrong with keeping it secret and managing for it and increasing their numbers. But how many of these ranchers, all right, how many these ranchers are actually, let's say, you know, they're there? Yeah, I just want to poke at the motives here. You know, they're they're. You enjoy them being there, if you could shake a magic wand and have them be more, you would do it and there'd be more, right? You don't want to have anybody come in and tell you you can't do X, Y and Z to keep your place solvent, viable, to keep your property like, you know, in your family functioning cattle ranch, whatever you got.
What are they actually like? What are they doing an exchange like? What are they proposing that they would do to help ocelots if they could?
Somehow let the cat out of the bag. That's a good point. Yeah, I was like, what are they going to what would they do to make more of them?
Or like, what do they do to contribute rather than just that they're just looking for a way to not be interfered with. Right.
Like what gift are they giving to the people or what gift are they giving to the cat?
So I'm going to pitch some of that to to Mike. But just to just to comment straight out, they can be an example to other landowners where we might translocate a population so that those landowners would agree. Oh, I hadn't thought about the translocation. You know, we've got to have another population.
And I think that go, you know what?
Look what's happening to those guys. Like hell am I going to let you let the cat loose here?
I got you. So that's the ask. That is one.
There are some things that you can do and ask would be, man, your place is Hasanuddin.
Could have some. Why don't you get on board.
He's a hell that the minute they let him go here I'm screwed. Right. And plus plus we need to know from those landowners just I mean there's some real conservation benefit. Just knowing exactly how many ocelots there are, where they are.
There's some there's some long term habitat development that can be that can be done. And ranchers know better than anybody how to develop habitat. And so that I don't know Mike any.
Yeah, yeah. Franki Teria, he he established one of the first conservation easements in 1987, 88, where he set aside two different tracks.
Each one was only about two hundred acres each. The the best ocelot habitat that is left in Texas and created a conservation easement with fishwives service.
We've had 11 different territorial sites at the same time, all these very small core habitats. And we consider that to be a source population, a source habitat, which I, I really believe that kind of service, like the heartbeat for that population of the ranch country. We've had several instances, I think at least eight different ocelots that moved from those very small patches on to to the ranch there. So it's a very source. So so and over the years, he added two more conservation easements with the Nature Conservancy in 2007 and 2009 and just about four or five years ago put the the remaining 10000 acres into some kind of an agreement, mostly rangeland, but some kind of agreement to protect the ocelot into the future.
So over time, although it's mostly grass and very little habitat in the rest of that ranch, it will eventually provide for all ocelots, that little pocket of habitat.
Well, and the rest of the 10000 acres, that's rangeland. When that starts to grow back, we're more, oh, more carbon in the atmosphere. And that's great for Bresch. Ultimately, the carbon in the atmosphere will help the brush.
Won't explain that. Well, now, Neil, you may of a ranger range.
Are you threw that one out there now we're now we're going to rabbit today. Oh, no, I won't make you do it for long.
But you mean like carbon in the atmosphere decreases grassland and increases brush, increases the opportunity for brush, for brush growth.
So it leaves a grassland loss. Right. Huh. Right. So in what capacity.
Because the precipitation changes or you know, it's actually the now I'm not an expert on this. The biochemical changes that that result in the better competitive ability for woody species versus grass to actually capture the resources on a site. That's OK.
Yeah, water. So we here like juniper encroachment stuff that could there's some factor there that could be linked to like more carbon or less carbon in the atmosphere that could lead to juniper encroachment. Yeah, no doubt about that carbon thing.
You shouldn't film-maker that. We don't. You don't. We don't need to hang on it. I really I never heard that man. It's interesting. What do you slip when and what still.
I'm I'm confused. Why what's preventing if we have these core populations, you know that they are breeding. Right. And we're not trapping them and shooting them legally as much as we were one hundred years ago. And so how can we just don't have a good just a general increase in population and disperse?
Excellent question. Excellent question. The a couple of things. One is they saw it as a habitat specialist.
It seeks a it seeks the densest brush that you could find, 95 percent horizontal cover is ideal for that.
You explain that horizontal of the shrub layer, the shrub layers, fifteen feet or shorter. That's where the shrub layer occurs.
And also throughout the range, we use different vegetation communities. But a common factor is extremely dense cover near the ground where the ocelot operates.
Well, what's the percentage mean? Horizontal if you did a measuring line or transect over. Over the brush, it's called line intercept, 95 percent or more of that would be solid brush, should be just a wall of brush. And so they're very selective on that. And twice once in the 80s and the 90s, we flew transects, a little over 13 counties, still confused.
OK, picture like a very nice lawn guy, huh? That would be zero percent.
Well, another picture you're in an. Going through a very thick line, OK with that and say this is 100 percent broche coverage as he finagles his way through, it all depends on the grass.
I guess, you know, if you have a solid stand of grass. Yeah. If it's spotty, maybe not.
But OK, so if you measure doesn't say like if you measure 100 centimeters. So I take a thing that has 100 centimeters and a stick and I hold that stick up.
Nine point five of those centimeter marks are going to have a piece of vegetation there.
There are a few different ways to measure, but the one I've always liked was it's called line intercept. You do a a tape measure for, say, 10 feet, and then you identify what's called the drip line of each shrub individual shrub where the foliage canopy. And then you consider that continuous. Now I got you.
And so if you measured over that, that I got you, because I would say that's a thick ass brush. Ninety five. Well, yeah.
And what's interesting is those two small tracks that remain is what's left. They called it the El Hardeen back in the early 1980s before the Rio Grande Valley was cleared. There was a lot of the El Hardeen, the garden, Spanish, just solid brush.
And that was one of the last vestiges of of the core population of Oseland was kind of ironic is prior to this, the Spanish explorations that occurred in the sixteen hundreds.
There are a lot of accounts of South Texas being a grassland or primarily a grassland. So that probably wasn't really good Assad habitat except along the rivers where you had the really dense brush over time because of the stopping the fire and overgrazing. We've had more encroachment of brush over time and that's benefited the ocelots.
So we've actually helped the asphalt in some places, in some ways.
And there's some some places like the ocelot population on the attorney 30th. There's a there's a ranch there called the Puerta del Monte. And that's just the point of brush. The point of the woodland. Oh, yeah. Yeah. And so that that was the old Spanish.
So even as thick as we've seen it on the multiple South Texas ranches that we've gotten to. Hold on. It's still not thick enough.
Probably not, because the rancher, if he has a right or here that says it's thick, but it's a very special kind of thick. And we've done surveys and we found that less than one percent, really less than one half of one percent of South Texas has that very special cover type, less than one half of one percent. That's why they that's what they mean.
They call it the brush country. Yeah, they how it used to be an asterisk. They didn't have Astrachan kind of. Yeah.
The brushy kind of brush country.
Yeah. So so that's what, that's what that's like. Answered his question like why are they not if we're not just out shooting them willy nilly and trapping them.
Well that's part of it. But they don't have to go. Porten part is they're very poor dispersers because they're spotting pattern that they have, they stick out like a sore thumb in the open, so they need that dense brush to move from one area to the other. Those two populations are separated by less than 30 miles and over 35 years we've never documented one to not moving to the other.
That's even that is that's all I wanted to ask is what's that? When you throw in a collar on one of them, what's the farthest you ever seen one of them go wearing a collar? Twenty six miles.
And that went for the ranch population down to what we call the porta Harlingen. Typically it's about ten miles and that usually ends unsuccessfully being killed on the road. We're having him. Well, well, he was killed on the road to the longest one.
The he was that's how we find him, the killer Drew. So this idea of the disconnection, so on the one makes it that went the farthest.
Yeah, he went and they normally fall. It went far and they normally make it but succumb to the same thing. Yeah.
Yeah. And the problem is they go into the highly developed Rio Grande Valley and this is a tense road network there. So it's just a gauntlet. Once they leave the population, they're going through a gauntlet that often is demised. You know, the road.
Do they head when you got a collar on one? Do they head in a direction that makes sense?
You know, I've always thought about the other side doesn't have a map.
Yeah, he has no clue. We don't know. We don't really understand his stuff, though, because. Like you look at, I don't know, all kinds of man like humpback whales, bowhead whales see these very sea turtle species that do insane stuff. My brother had a bunch of pigeons that were born in his yard. One day he drove the pigeons an hour and a half away and they beat him home. Yeah, we never left his yard.
We use homing pigeons, so I don't know that he has that in his head to head in. Well, those examples are different.
A lot of those birds may use magnetic fields of the stars, not cats.
But my only my only point being, there could be some thing we don't yet understand. They want a cat bogey's boogie's in a way that at least kind of makes sense. Sure. Yeah.
I'm always we by no means no everything. And I always am. As a scientist you have to be open that you don't know everything and but I think about it a lot.
And the ocelots world is in the dark and it can only see two feet above the ground. And its its immediate world is surrounded by brush. It's in a very enclosed world. So when it boogie somewhere, you know, you kind of wonder what kind of cues it's it's homing into some natural drainages. I think maybe a rough factor and or maybe at a distance.
They can't see that far in the distance because of those factors. It's really on. And so they don't have a map and they usually get in trouble.
One more, I guess, same question, different way, OK? Do the ones that take off take off in the same direction or is it willy nilly?
I think there may be some generality for that.
And again, it probably is related to the drainages, whatever cues that they see that I don't if there's a big open grassland, most of them won't go that way. But if there's some cover, some level to cover, even if it's 50 percent brush or something else, they prefer that over agricultural field guy. So there may be some rough this, but it's I think for a lot of the cats, it's almost a random thing.
I'll tell you why I ask. I had one time in my mom's storage shed, I had 10 live snapping turtles in her. She left the door open. And they all went the right direction. And I later thought it has to be downhill. Yeah, yeah, yeah, I would I would guess that, you know, it was like they had you've got in the yard.
And because I found a bunch up and down the beach, they were all going.
It had been that they just following the contour. Salma Mahmoud like I guess that one. Yeah. Like why, why would a statures like I need to get to the water.
I'm not going to go uphill.
Yeah. I bet there are some cues like that that different Texans, you know, respond different ways.
That's interesting. So any I'm head of the water is always been downhill. So what if your plane crashes in the mountains? You follow the creeks down?
Yeah, yeah. We're laying out some when you working with Carinda, put down some some things that we want to discuss. You had three motivations that drive ocelots. Parenthetically, it says in most small cats is sex, hunger and fear.
Yeah, I've learned that from my my my two outdoor cats that are pretty wild and I just sit around and watch them and watch Alex Calahan them down and kill cows on an anti cat crusade, not where he is feral cats.
Well, no, I presume more than most of the soft man with a dog and a hard man with a cat. Yeah, I like dogs. I like dogs more. I like dogs more than cats. But I keep a few around for behavioral observations.
Hey, any animal helps you out tremendously. There's so many cues that help hunters. And it's well worth your time to have an animal in your life and be an antique cat is an entirely correct.
I am shocked at the duality of people's morals when it comes to domestic cat.
That you don't like the guy that wants to pheasants a year. But meanwhile, your cat that the feral and free wandering house cats kill more birds than there are Americans every year.
And I did on this subject. Like what what is the.
Is there overlap between a domestic cat population and is there a concern for disease transmission attack?
Toxoplasmosis, I believe is what it is. Good question. Yeah, there's right near the EL Source Ranch is a small community of one hundred people called Port Mansfield. And there have been some studies have shown feline leukemia or some disease, 100 people, 2000 cats.
Go ahead. Well, you probably. Yeah, and what I worry about them is a bobcat's probably coming into town on the edge of town, which they frequently do, getting that disease to Bobcat and then into the ocelot population only about four or five miles away.
And that's one thing we worry about.
Mange is another thing. Coyotes will get mange, usually a different kind of mange. Cats will get no todrick mange and they get sarcoptic mange. But we worry about house cats. But usually cats won't live too long. Coyotes will kill them. Great horned owls will kill them in the wild.
Although surprisingly, some places you can find some house cats, but most of the time they won't live too long in the wild. How do they arrange themselves, like when you have a little population, you have to imagine that they're structured somehow, right? I mean, they're interacting with each other.
You talking about all sorts of housecalls, Kassala. OK, ocelots.
Yeah, it's it's kind of the typical system socialization. See, for the 33 species of small castes, most people realize that. But I'm just amazed that 33 species of small cats and many of them show the same system. Where were the strategy of the female is to breed and find a whole range that's big enough that will support her young, raising her young over a year or two, even with variations of drought, wet periods. But the male's strategy is to try to and she so the female wants to make sure her young survive to breeding age.
And the male strategy is not does not take part of caretaking for the young, but it wants to breed with as many females as it can so that male is monitoring the territory of one female, two females, or sometimes three. And that means it spends a lot of his time traveling and checking to find out when the female is incestuous or reproductively active and if he wants to overlap to home ranges to females. It's moving a lot. Get hit by cars.
Well, yeah, if if the roads no train there will be and there. But the ranches where there aren't roads, they're moving a lot and and they train so, so they're, they're optimizing their ability to spread the genes that way. The female, once she knows that the the the males aren't going to help with raising young any. So it's really interesting strategy. And and the males, I think for many small cats, will they'll monitor the females and probably they'll fight with other males.
And they definitely defended territories. We've had three instances of one male killing another male. Hmm. All cats will kill all the cats, different species, same species, and the bigger cats kill the smaller cats. Pretty easy. But I've got a photo of this one outside in the Jaguar in Mexico, and he can tell it's not a watering hole and the Jaguar is about to kill that ocelots. So, so. Cat Oh, really? And you caught him in the photo at that moment?
Well, another person to Mexico, it's it's one photo and they're both responding to the flash of the camera. But that aside, that first, there are two photos in that first photo that all the hair standing out on the tail of that ocelot and it's one hind leg is always looks unusual, like it's already broken.
I think they already had a bite for that.
And three seconds later, the next camera, they're both looking back intensely each other. And I bet if it had another three seconds, then it would be that. Yeah, so so. So that's a problem. But they display a lot and they they try not to fight the scent, mark their home ranges and territories. They don't want to fight because if you break a canine or you lose one eye, your chances of surviving much longer is not good.
If you had to crystal ball it right. How long you been messing with ocelots for? Thirty eight years.
So what year will it be in? Thirty eight years there'll be two thousand fifty eight.
No, no. I'm a wildlife science and I didn't take me, I did the math. Right. Where's it male.
It 2058, 2058 and 2058 are ocelots has gone in Texas. They're still around so. Yes. Yeah. 2058. Yeah. Yes I do.
Because you have the East Foundation who's going to work with some other landowners and do what it takes to maintain those into the future, I'm convinced.
And help us get the translocations, all ever do is read about bad stuff, man. I'm glad to hear this. Well, you know, I probably changed my attitude five or 10 years. I spent the first 30 years pretty pessimistic and giving presentations that people come off at the NSA. I wish you weren't so pessimistic and a little more.
Are you just being strategic by being optimistic? No, I really believe that, you know, you're not trying to play the long game a little bit with me, you know, no, I really I really believe that. I think it's a dumb and dumber approach. I mean, there's there's there's a chance that ocelots are going to make it.
And just like, well, if we do the things we need to do and I think we will really. Yeah. Tell people. Give you a little rundown of what they can do to find out more about ocelots and more about the work to save ocelots. You know how people might be involved?
Yeah, well, one is check out our Web site, the SESAR Clayburgh Wildlife Research Institute in the East Foundation. I'm sure that you can get some information from both of those.
Yeah, e e foundation dot net. Also, we've got a feature film coming out that you've seen produced by by Ben Masters and Finfer and Feather and SESAR Clayburgh and an E Foundation collaborated on that along with Fish and Wildlife Service is a 30 minute feature on the plight of ocelots in South Texas. Yeah, that's part of a bigger set of productions that that Texan by Nature, a nonprofit that was formed by Laura Bush, is helping sponsor through fin fur and feather films.
And that's to do that. Or in the wall. Yeah, he did that and they did that wild horse film.
Unbranded Brand and Brabin Master set that fact. He spent some time here in Bozeman every year, but that is coming out and that will be out in December. And that's a that's a good just basic synopsis of the issue from both a biological pretty well.
You've seen it from both biological perspective and and it lays out the two sides of the issue in a little bit of an abbreviated form. But it does.
He got some incredible footage for that as well. Real quick, I mentioned Karen Higson also was one of the founders of funders of that that film, but he got an incredible five hours worth of film on the ocelots, a lot of it based on this one mother and her two young and and the two young are only seen together in the very first image. The male dies shortly thereafter. And from there on, that's what I total guess. But I could see easily see a dozen things.
It's stumbling into a big five foot rattlesnake on that ranch. Could easily do it. A coyote stumble, a bobcat, a variety of things that could do. And but and and he I think he has a Alekos of one segment of also drinking water for six minutes. He has another of a regurgitating. It takes like two minutes for the society to regurgitate.
It's a fascinating film. Yeah. Yeah.
It's a little quirky and it's really good. It's a second piece and any and throughout that film you see the mother training her young. It's constantly calling it of getting it to follow, making small vocalizations. It's nursing it while coyotes are howling off in the distance. You know, it's almost like a calming effect on that kitten nursing. And they're both sitting there calming and calming behavior and it's leading it from one cover patch to another cover. So the the sex, hunger and fear, I think a pure and I get that from my back yard cats.
You know, the males from the neighboring houses come in for the sex. They're constantly hunting the birds. And then the fear is if I just make a noise, they're running for cover. So so that's that's throughout the cat, the small cats, at least when you drop something hopeful on you.
So we've we've worked hard with Fish and Wildlife Service over the last four or five years just to basically help them help them understand the ranchers side of the situation. And we have some some strong and influential people within the Fish and Wildlife Service that have got it. They've got it figured out. And there they are working on the inside to try to figure out how we can do this, separate aside from any reforming the Endangered Species Act or anything like this.
Just what can we do with what we have and how can we make this work? And we've got some really dedicated people in there that shouldn't share the same objectives that that we share, understand that we are serious about it. We think more funding into research on that species than anyone else. And we're there for the long run. And this is not just a flash in the pan.
And at least for me, I don't want that cat blinking out on my watch.
Yeah, well, I mean, I wish you best luck in that move, because I think if someone's out there and and they. Would be willing to have someone willing to take some steps we don't want to get steamrolled, I sure hope that there's a sure seems to me that we would collectively find a path forward for that individual man.
I mean. You know. And they did not have and not have a difficult to navigate bureaucratic bureaucratic entanglement laid out in front of them.
It's supposed to be part of how the North American model works to I mean, it really does come back and apply to look, this is how we are supposed to handle our our public trust, you know, that we that we have in this country.
It's supposed to work that way. We've got a lot of things working that way that are run through the state game. And fish agencies, of course, they have commissions where they can turn on a dime. Many of them do Fish and Wildlife Service, the responsibilities that they have over endangered species, a little bit different. But we've got to make it work within that public trust doctrine of of the North American model. We've got to figure it out.
Calegari got final wrap ups. Is going to go vigilante on them cats, a wildlife management is hard.
You know, I read it's the I'm sure there are a lot of folks trying to manage species on the public land side of the fence that are staring into the private eye and saying how easy it would be if only.
And I think one of the.
Yeah, I mean, as far as like Lion specifically managed for wildlife in the US that is privately held, I think you're still a larger amount of land in privately held acres than all the national parks in the lower 48 combined mean land open for wildlife owned.
Yeah, with the stated purpose of wildlife. Most of that most that's for hunting. Right. And. You know, the thing that those pieces of land, miss, that are on the public land side of things, in a lot of cases, not all cases is the public.
Has a voice like as as a nation sometimes in how invested we're going to be in a species. And that kind of lax on the ocelot side of things, right, it's like, oh, that's going to be doing advocacy work on ocelots. Every every day. Yeah, I know, and you're like, yeah, and and with the public perspective is and I'll never see the damn thing because I can't go there.
Cow. Cow made me think of something. I think this fundamental is that these vast ranches and even small ranches, they'll generate often more income from their hunting operation of Dan Quayle than they do from the cattle operation. So they have incentives to hire a lot of our students. Undergraduate graduates come and work on the ranches of biologist to keep the habitat there. And that fundamental incentive is also providing indirectly habitat for ocelots so that the hunting and that's they're really indirectly also benefiting ocelots.
Yeah, good quail habitat, and if you're a Rinella type of fella, it's good cottontail habitat is good ocelot habitat from the sounds of it. All right, guys, thank you for coming. Enjoyed it, thank you. Thank you. It was great. Yeah, until he won one more time.
How to how to find your East Foundation at East Foundation dot net. You guys based out of based out of San Antonio, Texas, but spend our time driving throughout South Texas.
And then Cesar Clayburgh, Wildlife Research Institute. And it's based in Kingsville, Texas, Texas A&M University, Kingsville. All right. Thank you very much, guys. Thank you. Thank you.