The jaguar is the top predator of the Atlantic Forest (AF), which is a highly threatened biodiversity hotspot that occurs in Brazil, Paraguay and Argentina. By combining data sets from 14 research groups across the region, we determine the population status of the jaguar and propose a spatial prioritization for conservation actions. About 85% of the jaguar’s habitat in the AF has been lost and only 7% remains in good condition. Jaguars persist in around 2.8% of the region, and live in very low densities in most of the areas. The population of jaguars in the AF is probably lower than 300 individuals scattered in small sub-populations. We identified seven Jaguar Conservation Units (JCUs) and seven potential JCUs, and only three of these areas may have ≥50 individuals. A connectivity analysis shows that most of the JCUs are isolated. Habitat loss and fragmentation were the major causes for jaguar decline, but human induced mortality is the main threat for the remaining population. We classified areas according to their contribution to jaguar conservation and we recommend management actions for each of them. The methodology in this study could be used for conservation planning of other carnivore species.
The present study reports field data of ticks infesting wild carnivores captured from July 1998 to September 2004 in Brazil. Additional data were obtained from one tick collection and from previous published data of ticks on carnivores in Brazil. During field work, a total of 3437 ticks were collected from 89 Cerdocyon thous (crab-eating fox), 58 Chrysocyon brachyurus (maned wolf), 30 Puma concolor (puma), 26 Panthera onca (jaguar), 12 Procyon cancrivorus (crab-eating raccoon), 4 Speothos venaticus (bush dog), 6 Pseudalopex vetulus (hoary fox), 6 Nasua nasua (coati), 6 Leopardus pardalis (ocelot), 2 Leopardus tigrinus (oncilla), 1 Leopardus wiedii (margay), 1 Herpailurus yagouaroundi (jaguarundi), 1 Oncifelis colocolo (pampas cat), 1 Eira barbara (tayara), 1 Galictis vittata (grison), 1 Lontra longicaudis (neotropical otter), and 1 Potus flavus (kinkajou). Data obtained from the Acari Collection IBSP included a total of 381 tick specimens collected on 13 C. thous, 8 C. brachyurus, 3 P. concolor, 10 P. onca, 3 P. cancrivorus, 4 N. nasua, 1 L. pardalis, 1 L. wiedii, 4 H. yagouaroundi, 1 Galictis cuja (lesser grison), and 1 L. longicaudis. The only tick-infested carnivore species previously reported in Brazil, for which we do not present any field data are Pseudalopex gymnocercus (pampas fox), Conepatus chinga (Molina's hog-nosed skunk), and Conepatus semistriatus (striped hog-nosed skunk). We report the first tick records in Brazil on two Felidae species (O. colocolo, H. yagouaroundi), two Canidae species (P. vetulus, S. venaticus), one Procyonidae species (P. flavus) and one Mustelidae (E. barbara). Tick infestation remains unreported for 5 of the 26 Carnivora species native in Brazil: Oncifelis geoffroyi (Geoffroy's cat), Atelocynus microtis (short-eared dog), Pteronura brasiliensis (giant otter), Mustela africana (Amazon weasel), and Bassaricyon gabbii (olingo). Our field data comprise 16 tick species represented by the genera Amblyomma (12 species), Ixodes (1 species), Dermacentor (1 species), Rhipicephalus (1 species), and Boophilus (1 species). Additional 5 tick species (3 Amblyomma species and 1 species from each of the genera Ixodes and Ornithodoros) were reported in the literature. The most common ticks on Carnivora hosts were Amblyomma ovale (found on 14 host species), Amblyomma cajennense (10 species), Amblyomma aureolatum (10 species), Amblyomma tigrinum (7 species), Amblyomma parvum (7 species), and Boophilus microplus (7 species).
Understanding coexistence between sympatric felines with similar body sizes, such as jaguars Panthera onca and pumas Puma concolor, requires knowledge of the way these predators consume and partition food resources. Yet the importance of livestock predation on jaguar and puma coexistence is poorly known. I investigated food habits and patterns of livestock depredation of jaguar and pumas in the Iguaçu National Park (INP) in southern Brazil. From 1997 to 2001, I collected scats opportunistically on trails and roads in INP and visited ranches on the border of INP. I found that jaguars relied mostly on large and medium‐sized wild prey species, while pumas concentrated on medium‐sized prey species. Livestock was the fifth most frequent prey found in jaguar scats but the most important one in terms of biomass consumed. Jaguar and puma diets differed significantly when all prey items were compared and also when livestock was excluded from the jaguar diet. Jaguar predation on livestock was considerably higher than predation by pumas. However, predation was not substantial relative to availability of livestock, and cattle likely constitute an alternative source of prey for jaguars. Degree of diet overlap between jaguar and puma in INP suggests that coexistence was likely driven by exploitative competition through some degree of food partitioning. My results highlight the importance of more actions toward increasing numbers of large ungulates to preserve the population of jaguars in INP.
Depredation of livestock by large carnivores is an important but poorly understood source of human-carnivore conflict. We examined patterns of livestock depredation by jaguars (Panthera onca) and pumas (Puma concolor) on a ranch-wildlife reserve in western Brazil to assess factors contributing to prey mortality. We predicted jaguars would kill a greater proportion of calves than yearling and adult cattle and that proximity to suitable habitat would increase mortality risk. We further speculated that exposure to predation risk would promote livestock grouping and increased movement distance. We recorded 169 cattle mortality incidents during 2003-2004, of which 19% were due to predation by jaguars and pumas. This level of mortality represented 0.2-0.3% of the total livestock holdings on the ranch. Jaguars caused most (69%) cattle predation events, and survival in allotments was lower for calves than for other age classes. Forest proximity was the only variable we found to explain patterns of livestock mortality, with predation risk increasing as distance to forest cover declined. Due to low predation risk, cattle movement patterns and grouping behavior did not vary relative to level of spatial overlap with radiocollared jaguars. The overall effect of predation on cattle was low and livestock likely constituted an alternative prey for large cats in our study area. However, selection of calves over other age cohorts and higher predation risk among cattle in proximity to forest cover is suggestive of selection of substandard individuals. Cattle ranchers in the Pantanal region may reduce cattle mortality rates by concentrating on losses due to nonpredation causes that could be more easily controlled.
Semen and blood samples were obtained from free-living (n = 6) and captive (n = 8) jaguars (Panthera onca) to compare reproductive characteristics between the two populations. Semen samples were analysed for volume (ml), percentage of motile spermatozoa, rate of forward progression (0-5), concentration (10(6) ml(-1)), total sperm count (10(6)) and sperm morphology. Serum testosterone concentration was determined by radioimmunoassay. Although ejaculate volume was greater in captive jaguars (n = 47 samples) than in free-living jaguars (n = 7 samples) (P < 0.05), the free-living jaguars produced more total spermatozoa (59.3 +/- 12.8 versus 152.0 +/- 88.0 x 10(6), respectively; not significant) with better viability and forward progression (2.8 +/- 0.1 versus 3.5 +/- 0.2, respectively; P < 0.05) and more spermatozoa with normal morphology (73.5 +/- 3.9 versus 5.0 +/- 1.1%, respectively; P < 0.05). Serum testosterone concentrations were similar for captive and free-living male jaguars (3.1 +/- 0.7 and 2.1 +/- 0.8 ng ml(-1), respectively). In summary, the data showed that semen may be collected successfully from free-living jaguars and evaluated under field conditions to establish normative reproductive values in this species. The results also indicate that jaguars maintained in zoos show inferior seminal characteristics compared with free-living animals.
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