This material has been published in Biotropica (2010, in press), the only definitive repository of the content that has been certified and accepted after peer review. Copyright and all rights therein are retained by the publishers.

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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