Forced neighbours: Coexistence between jaguars and pumas in a harsh environment (ScienceDirect Publication: Journal of Arid Environments)

Publication date: Available online 21 July 2017
Source:Journal of Arid Environments
Author(s): S. Astete, J. Marinho-Filho, M. Kajin, G. Penido, B. Zimbres, R. Sollmann, A.T.A. Jácomo, N.M. Tôrres, L. Silveira
Carnivores face conflicts with humans, which has reduced their numbers and distribution. Carnivores compete in intraguild predation systems, Subordinate predators usually avoid top predators through spatial or temporal separation. Coexistence requires a complex combination of resources and environmental conditions. In this study, we assessed the occupancy and temporal activity during night time of the jaguar (Panthera onca) and puma (Puma concolor) in the Serra da Capivara National Park (SCNP), located in the semi-arid Caatinga biome of Brazil. Felines face biological limitations in hot environments. We used camera-traps, occupancy models and temporal analysis to evaluate their patterns of habitat use, activity and interactions in SCNP between 2009 and 2011. We considered jaguar as dominant predator and puma as subordinate, and expected to find spatial and temporal avoidance between them. We found evidence of spatial and temporal coexistence. This coexistence could be a result of a restriction of niche separation between both species, influenced by the harsh conditions in the Caatinga, represented by a combination of extreme temperatures, scarcity of refuges to thermoregulate, an environment around SCNP with a high level of human disturbance and an apparent increase in prey due conservation policies.