REWILDING AN OCELOT: KHAN'S STORY
Team Member: Ava Holmes
Thank you, thank you, thank you
December 25, 2016
Samantha Zwicker wrote -
- Donate here to support the reintroduction of Khan the ocelot to his jungle home and set a precedent for future cat reintroductions in the Amazon. Zoos and breeding programs don't have to be the only option for animals like Khan. Share his story and see below for donation rewards!
The ocelot (Leopardus pardalis), is an elusive and fierce wild cat of the jungle found throughout South America, and populations are decreasing dramatically due to poaching, logging, habitat loss and fragmentation, retaliatory killing due to depredation, and wildlife trafficking. They are trafficked and sold for as little as $43 in Peru.
We first came across Khan in a remote community along the Piedras River in Madre de Dios, Peru. We had heard whispers that loggers spending the night in Lucerna had a baby wild cat taken from its tree den that they were looking to sell in the city.
Seeing one-month-old Khan in box, covered in diarrhea, malnourished and dehydrated and eating nothing but powdered milk, the decision to take and reintroduce him became clear. The longer he remained surrounded by people outside of his natural habitat, the less likely he would be able to adapt back to the jungle. This began Khan and Harry's reintroduction story.
Taken from his mother at a young age, Khan bonded to Harry almost immediately, and Harry to Khan. Harry is a former soldier who served in Afghanistan, and later found solace in the peaceful, wild jungles of Peru. He's a practiced guide and jungle expert, and now, as Khan's "mom", Harry has been slowly teaching Khan about the jungle, and about being an ocelot.
At six months old and only 7 pounds, Khan is already navigating the jungle and streams, prowling and catching prey, and becoming aware of the dangers the jungle can pose- including humans. In the next year he will become fierce and agile, taking on prey in the trees and on the ground his size and larger.
The permits to reintroduce Khan have been completed with Peru's National Forest and Wildlife Service (SERFOR), and we have partnered with Universidad Nacional Mayor de San Marcos, the University of Washington, and Duke University. Renata Leite Pitman, a cat specialist and veterinarian working in the region since 2000, will be advising the project along with Miryam Quevedo and Jesus Lescano, two veterinarians with San Marcos University who will be teaching students in the field and monitoring Khan's health. After the permits arrive and a thorough veterinary evaluationis made, Khan will move on from this more controlled, quarantine-like stage and begin his new journey.
Harry is dedicating the next year or more to make this happen, but we need monetary support as we have exhausted our personal funds. This would be the first successful ocelot reintroduction, creating a precedent for future cat reintroductions, and we want to share it with you.
Below is a list of necessary resources to make this project happen and keep both Harry and Khan safe. As ocelots are nocturnal, Harry will have to be as well, and nighttime is when all of the action will occur. Over the next year, the two will undoubtedly capture footage comparable to any nature program, with the ability to learn more about this species and others, and raise conservation awareness for the region. All equipment will be usable for conservation endevours for many years to come.
Thank you for reading Khan's story! If you know of anyone interested in sponsoring or donating specific equipment, please contact me at email@example.com. Please donate what you can and follow this page and our facebook page, because we will be posting many updates!
- DONATE-FOR-REWARDS -
1. $100 - Personalalized KHAN postcard sent to your door
2. $150 - Hoja Nueva bracelet woven by local community members (and all lower level rewards)
3. $250 - Personal updates from the field about Khan's progress sent to your inbox each week (and all lower level rewards)
4. $500 - Signed copy of Mother of God by Paul Rosolie (and all lower level rewards)
5. $1,500 Become a Junglekeeper and go on a volunteer adventure with Tamandua Expeditions (and all lower level rewards)
6. $2,500 Stay for five nights with a friend or loved one in Hoja Nueva's beautiful and newly constructed jungle Eco-Lodge (includes reward levels 1-4).
An email confirmation of the rewards you receive is sent directly after your generous donation.
Necessities through August 2017: $13,012
- Khan's new jungle enclosure - $600
- Sony camcorder - $700
- ATS tracking collar, receiver, and antenna for the next year: $1,267
- W510 GPS logger, remote module, and high-range Yagi to track Khan's movements after released for 3+ years - $1,945
- Food for Harry (1 year) - $2,500
- Food for Khan (1 year) - $500
- Food transport to the jungle every 2 weeks (1 year) - $1,300
- Gasoline for boat motor and generator (1 year) - 1,200
- Veterinary travel costs - $800
- Bite-resistant sleeves & gloves - $50
- GPS unit (Garmin) - $350
- Red light flashlight, headlamp, and batteries - $300
- Inmarsat SAT phone credit for emergencies - $1,200
- Humane rat traps (2) - $50 each
- Shipping costs (luggage) from USA to Peru - $200
With Gratitude, Sam & Harry
A special thanks to Renata Leite Pitman, Paul Rosolie, Miryam Quevedo, and Jesus Lescano for their continuous collaboration and support, and to our friends and family for sharing. We couldn't do this without you!