Distribution, Genetics and Oral Health in Free-Ranging Jaguar Populations in Brazil

Jaguar distribution, genetics and oral health in Brazil are being studied in this project through skin and skulls apprehended by the Brazilian Environmental Agency or from museums and research institutions.

The jaguar is classified as endangered by the Brazilian Environmental Agency (IBAMA) and “near threatened” by the IUCN. Field-based Research projects that use camera traps and capture jaguars for biological material collection and radio-collaring have become much more common over the past decade. At the same time, throughout Brazil a large amount of biological material from jaguars (skulls and skins) is apprehended by the environmental agency. While of extreme importance for science, this material and its potential to complement research projects has so far been overlooked. In order to study three import topics for jaguar conservation, geographical distribution, genetic diversity and teeth health, this project proposes to use apprehended samples to advance the scientific knowledge of the species in Brazil.

The jaguar distribution will be recorded based on the origin of the biological samples collected. The genetic analyses of the skin samples made by partnering laboratories will expand our knowledge of genetic variation in the jaguar by comparing populations of different regions. Collected skulls analyzed with X-ray will identify fractures, diseases, and other abnormalities of the oral cavity. So far, samples from North and Central Brazil have been collected.

In combination with research on captured free-ranging jaguars, this project will provide extremely valuable information on jaguar genetics and tooth condition throughout Brazil. After analysis, biological material will be handed over to the governmental environmental agency – CENAP.