TUCSON, Ariz. -- The Arizona Game and Fish Department is analyzing new trail camera photos of an ocelot in the Huachuca Mountains to determine if it's the same one sighted twice last year.
The photos taken April 26-27 were provided by an unidentified third party.
The ocelot's spotting pattern is being compared to that of an ocelot photographed by Game and Fish officers in February 2011 after it was treed by a man's dogs and one photographed by a hunter's trail camera last May in the Huachucas.
The spotting patterns in those photos matched.
"If photo analysis concludes it is the same ocelot, it shows that the cat not only survived the Monument Fire, but remains in the Huachucas," said Regional Supervisor Raul Vega of Game and Fish in Tucson.
Ocelots are small to medium-sized spotted cats with a long tail. They have been listed as endangered by federal authorities since 1982 and have rarely been seen in Arizona.
Only one other ocelot has been confirmed in Arizona since the mid-1960s. That animal was run over near Globe in April 2010.
The department has been provided with two other trail camera photos of an ocelot reportedly taken in Arizona in February 2012 and November 2009. In both cases the location of the photos could not be determined, although the February photo was of the Huachucas ocelot based on the spotting pattern.
If anyone encounters a cat believed to be an ocelot, the Game and Fish Department requests that photos along with observation information be reported immediately to the department at 1-800-352-0700.
Visit Game and Fish's website for more information about ocelots.