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Habitat use by sympatric jaguars
and pumas across a gradient of human disturbance
Bart J. Harmsen, Rebecca J. Foster, and C. Patrick Doncaster
Jaguars (Panthera onca) and pumas (Puma concolor) are sympatric
across the entire jaguar range, where they coexist in increasingly fragmented
landscapes under threat of persecution mainly in response to livestock
predation. Little is known about the anthropogenic influences on the coexistence
of these two similar-sized cats. This study compares habitat use of jaguars and
pumas in Belize, Central America, using 1380 jaguar and puma photographs from 3
yr of camera trapping, including 64 to 74 individual jaguars and an unknown
number of pumas. Jaguars and pumas differed little in their use of a large block
of relatively homogenous secondary rainforest. Pumas were scarce outside this
forest block, whereas jaguars were detected throughout the human-influenced
landscapes. Reasons for this discrepancy may include differential tolerance to
human disturbance, and resource limitation for pumas outside the forest block.
Jaguar males were detected at more locations than jaguar females and more
frequently at each location, with a declining difference from a 50-fold greater
detection in the protected forest, through forest buffer, savannah, pastures, to
negligible difference in the disturbed forest.
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