The ocelot is often confused with a small jaguar. Photo: Shutterstock

Santa Elena, Yucatan — Four members of a Ticul family were arrested Saturday afternoon in southern Yucatan after they were discovered transporting a dead ocelot.

The remains of an endangered wild jungle cat was discovered during a routine SSP road check, local media reported.

The subjects could not explain to authorities why an ocelot’s carcass was stowed in the rear of their Ford Ranger, and family members contradicted each other while trying to explain, state police said.

The truck’s driver, identified only as Eliú ASC, 23, was detained, as were his father, Eduardo SC, 61; and the driver’s brothers Carlos ESC, 39; and Noé WSC, 38.

The routine check-up was carried out at Calle 19 at Calle 12 in Santa Elena.

The suspects were returned to authorities in Ticul and face a hearing before the attorney general.

Mainly active in Yucatan’s jungles at night, the ocelot (Leopardus pardalis) is a slinky and elusive feline that sleeps in trees during the day. Often the ocelot is confused with a small jaguar. Ocelots are also found in Oaxaca, Chiapas, Veracruz and Tabasco.

With information from Yucatan Ahora