Ocelot – 195
Leopardus pardalis
San Diego Zoo, San Diego, California

Wild ocelots are gone from all U.S. states except Texas, evicted by human development. The illegal trade in exotic furs and pets has also put a dent in their population. These elusive cats still roam the wilds of Central and South America, though there’s little reliable data on their true numbers.

“The key in photographing anything is having time and good access. In this case, we had access to the only ocelot I know of that is trained to walk on a leash, at the San Diego Zoo. Time was the real issue, though. Many of these animals will stand still only for food. The moment they get full, the shoot is over. We got eight minutes.” – Joel Sartore

Rare: Photographs by Joel Sartore is currently on view at the National Geographic Museum in Washington, D.C. The photographs are installed in lightboxes facing the street, come by after dusk to get the full effect!


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