Josh Beckett defends the ocelot

(Mark J. Terrill / AP)

Los Angeles Dodgers pitcher Josh Beckett has moved on from defending himself from the criticism of his chicken, beer and golf routine during Boston’s historic September 2011 collapse. Now he’s defending threatened nocturnal felines.

A company Beckett owns is suing a pipeline company for allegedly destroying a habitat located on his 7,000-acre south Texas ranch that is home to endangered ocelots.

The pitcher claims he has seen the 15- to 30-pound spotted cats on his property and his lawsuit alleges that Eagle Ford Midstream LP engaged in “willful destruction” of the habitat by clearing the land to build a pipeline. Eagle Ford Midstream LP claims there were no ocelots on the property.

Michael Tewes, a large-cat expert from the Caesar Kleberg Wildlife Research Institute at Texas A&M University-Kingsville, visited Beckett’s ranch after the pipeline corridor was cleared, and, according to a MySanAntonio.com report, identified ocelot habitat.

“The started bulldozing for 10 days,” Jim Blackburn, an environmental lawyer representing Beckett Ventures, told MySanAntonio. “I think it is an arrogant move of a company that is relatively dismissing of federal law.”

The global ocelot population is estimated between 800,000 and 1.5 million and is concentrated in throughout South and Central America (via Defenders of Wildlife). Between 50 and 100 ocelots are believed to live in southeast Texas.

(H/T Big League Stew)

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