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Density of ocelots in a semiarid environment in northeastern Brazil

Densidade da jaguatirica em um ambiente semiárido no nordeste do Brasil


Ocelots play a key role in ecological communities as mesopredators affecting the lower trophic level and other mesopredators. They show great variability in ecological traits across their distribution, but knowledge of this species is missing in several regions where it occurs. Here, we present the first study of ocelot in the Brazilian semiarid of Caatinga. Arid habitats might keep carnivore population density low and therefore vulnerable to environmental shocks and to human-induced changes, at risk of local extinction. To assess their population status, we used camera traps between September 2009 and January 2010. We estimated the density of ocelots using a spatially explicit capture-recapture method (SECR) to be 3.16 ± 0.46 individuals per 100 km2. This is a low-density estimate for ocelots, which might reflect the harsh conditions of the arid habitat. A longer population study of the ocelot can answer if this low population density is enough for a long-term persistence of this species in this and other arid environments.

Arid environments; Brazil; Density; Ocelot; SECR

Instituto Virtual da Biodiversidade | BIOTA - FAPESP Departamento de Biologia Vegetal - Instituto de Biologia, UNICAMP CP 6109, 13083-970 - Campinas/SP, Tel.: (+55 19) 3521-6166, Fax: (+55 19) 3521-6168 - Campinas - SP - Brazil