Ecology and conservation of jaguar and its natural prey at Nascentes do Rio Parnaíba National Park and Uruçuí-Una Ecological Station

This project works with two of the last remaining jaguar populations in the Northeastern Brazil by studying the species’ ecology and conservation through camera traps.

The Nascentes do Rio Parnaíba National Park, located in the State of Tocantins, and the Uruçuí-Una Ecological Station, located in the Southwest of Piauí State, hold a combined total of 937,000 hectares (2,315,368 acres) of protected area in the Brazilian Cerrado. Considering the large size and good condition of these areas, they are very important for the conservation of threatened species such as the jaguar. Together with the Serra das Confusões and Serra da Capivara National Parks, they are the last remaining areas with the potential to maintain genetically viable jaguar populations in Northeastern Brazil.

The present study began in 2007 and through camera traps, sought to estimate the abundance and density of jaguar populations, and collect information on habitat use, activity pattern, and home range of the species and its natural prey. A total of 20 species of medium and large mammals were registered; the most abundant species in the region are crab eating fox, hoary fox and gray brocket deer. Results demonstrate that occurrence of jaguars is rare; in addition, there are nine mammals listed as threatened by the Brazilian Environmental Agency (IBAMA), highlighting the importance of these protected areas for wildlife conservation in Northeastern Brazil.