Josh Beckett, friend of the ocelot

Kevin Kaduk

Josh Beckett, noted preservationist?

The prickly Los Angeles Dodgers pitcher may rub some other humans the wrong way, but he's apparently on the lookout for some of the more fragile members of the animal kingdom. According to a story in the San Antonio Express-News, Beckett is suing a pipeline company for allegedly destroying an endangered ocelot habitat that he says was located on his 7,000-acre ranch in south Texas.

Beckett said he saw the 15 to 30-pound cats on his property as recently as last fall, but the outfit he's suing — the Eagle Ford Shale pipeline company — claims there were no ocelots to be found. Ocelots are primarily found in South America, Central America and Mexico, but have been known to be spotted north of the border. The News-Express reports the estimated U.S. population of the cat is just around 50 ocelots.

Some of which were living on Beckett's property, experts say.

From MySanAntonio:

Michael Tewes, a large-cat expert from the Caesar Kleberg Wildlife Research Institute at Texas A&M University-Kingsville, visited the ranch after the pipeline corridor was cleared and identified ocelot habitat, including where the pipeline would be built.

"They started bulldozing for 10 days," said environmental lawyer Jim Blackburn, who is representing Beckett Ventures, which owns the Herradura Ranch. "I think it is an arrogant move of a company that is relatively dismissing of federal law."

The company declined to comment.

The company could be fined if found liable. No matter what happens, it's nice to see Beckett using his clout in doing what he thinks is right for the ocelot.

Josh Beckett, friend to cat and colonel.

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