Jaguar Population Ecology in the Cantão State Park region

This Project investigates the jaguar distribution, ecology and epidemiology of a key jaguar population in the region of Cantão State Park, central Brazil.

Cantão State Park (PEC) is one of the most important forest reserves in central Brazil. PEC is located along the Araguaia river, in a transition area between the Cerrado biome and the Amazonian Forest. As a result, the park shelters species of the fauna of both these environments, including the maned wolf, the pampas deer and the sloth. The area surrounding PEC is characterized by cattle ranching and a high rate of deforestation, and there is thus a high level of conflict between jaguars and people in this region.

The main objectives of this project are to monitor jaguar distribution in the study area and to collect population, ecological and epidemiological data on the species. The study in PEC was created in 2002 and has since been extended to an area of 55,000 hectares (135,907 acres) that includes the Fazenda Santa Fé, located in the State of Pará. This private property includes 30,000 hectares (74,131 acres) of protected reserve area and consequently is an important refuge for jaguars. The region hosts the less common black (melanic) form of the jaguar.

Jaguar Conservation Fund/Instituto Onça-Pintada studies have used camera traps to estimate jaguar density in this region as 2.59 jaguar/100km² and three individuals have thus far been captured for collection of biological samples. With the scat detector dogs, JCF was able to collect and analyze jaguar fecal samples and thus identify tapir, white lipped peccary and collared peccary as the main natural prey items of jaguar in PEC and the surrounding region. Domestic cattle are also an important source of food for the jaguar in this region. The use of GPS collars will enable researchers to better understand jaguar habitat use in the region. As the main threat to jaguar in the region is retaliation killing of jaguar due to livestock predation, one key objective of this study is to better understand jaguar-human conflict behavior.

Associated theses:

Negrões, N. Human and Wildlife Coexistence: challenges of carnivore conservation. PhD Thesis, University of Aveiro, Portugal. Start: March 2005.

Furtado, M. Epidemiologic relation between jaguars (Panthera onca) and domestic animals in three Brazilian Biomes: Cerrado, Pantanal and Amazônia. PhD Thesis, University of São Paulo, Start: July 2006.

Read more about this topic:

Nuno, A. M. G. 2007. Conserving Carnivores: A. Attitudes of Portuguese High School Students towards Carnivores. B. Feeding Habits of the Jaguar: Local and regional perspectives. Master’s dissertation, University of Leeds, UK.