Periódicos Brasileiros em Medicina Veterinária e Zootecnia

Selection of habitat by the jaguar, Panthera onca (Carnivora: Felidae), in the upper Paraná River, Brazil

Cullen Junior, LauryA. Sana, DênisLima, FernandoC. de Abreu, KauêUezu, Alexandre

We used data from VHF and GPS radio-tagged jaguars, Panthera onca (Linnaeus, 1758) to quantify jaguar habitat selection and how adult individuals in the Upper Paraná River region selected among the available habitat types. We followed the framework in which animals make decisions about resource use at hierarchical stages, namely selection of home range within a study area (second-order selection) and selection of patches within a home range (third-order selection). We quantified habitat preferences at two orders of selection with respect to habitat types and to test the null hypothesis that habitat utilization by jaguars was random at both study sites. Using compositional analysis, we assessed habitat selection by jaguars at second- and third-orders of selection. Jaguars consistently preferred dense marshes and primary forests, and avoided human-dominated areas such as intensively managed open pastures. Although the avoidance of disturbed and developed habitat types by jaguars is not surprising, this is the first study to document it. If small protected areas, such as the ones already existing in the Upper Paraná region, are to sustain jaguar populations they, must include and protect as many primary forests and marshlands as possible, so that jaguars can disperse, hunt wild prey and take care of their cubs without being disturbed. What is urgently needed in these jaguar-protected areas is the creation of larger protected areas that can sustain jaguars in their favored habitat.

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