Epidemiologic relation between jaguars (Panthera onca) and domestic animals in three Brazilian biomes: Cerrado, Pantanal and Amazon

Through the collection of biological samples from populations of jaguars and domestic animals in three Brazilian Biomes, this project proposes to analyze the epidemiologic relationship of these populations.

Habitat fragmentation, hunting, and the increasing proximity between humans, domestic animals, and wild animals is thought to be responsible for emerging and re-emerging diseases, dissemination of pathogens, and alterations in disease cycles. However, little is known about the potential role of diseases in wild jaguar populations. Taking into account that interactions between populations of jaguars and domestic animals outside of protected areas is increasing, it is possible that the transmission of pathogens between these populations exists. This project proposes to survey the health status of jaguar populations in three Brazilian biomes. In order to do so, jaguars will be captured to collect biological samples; samples will also be taken from domestic herds, as well as from cats and dogs living in close proximity to known resident jaguar populations. Thereby, we intend to identify possible associations between results from the sampled populations. As captured jaguars will be fitted with radio-collars, we will also map the occurrence of pathogens in the study areas, considering different models of human occupation and impact.

Biological samples have already been collected from 46 jaguars captured in the Cerrado, Pantanal and Amazon study areas, and more than 900 domestic animals from rural properties in the Cerrado and Pantanal areas. The biological samples are being screened for important zoonotic diseases (Toxoplasmosis, Leptospirosis, Brucelosis, Rabies and Tuberculosis), diseases important for carnivores in general (Cinomosis), and for the Felidae family in particular (Feline Immunodeficiency – FIV and Feline Leukemia – FeLV). Preliminary results show that jaguars from the Cerrado and Pantanal study areas were exposed to Leptospira spp and Toxoplasma gondii, but not to Brucella abortus.

Results of this project will help to elaborate conservation strategies for the jaguar populations in the study areas, and can serve as a model for other epidemiologic programs in the region.

Associated Thesis:

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:

Furtado, M. M., and Filoni, C. 2008. Diseases and their role for jaguar conservation. Cat News Special Issue 4, 35-40.