ESR 32:471-478 (2017)  -  DOI:

Ocelots thrive in a non-typical habitat of northwestern Mexico

Miguel Ángel Gómez-Ramírez1,2, Carmina Elizabeth Gutiérrez-González1,2, Carlos Alberto López-González1,*

1Laboratorio de Zoología, Universidad Autónoma de Querétaro, Campus Juriquilla, Av. de las Ciencias S/N, Delegación Santa Rosa Jáuregui, Querétaro, Querétaro CP 76230, Mexico
2Present address: Northern Jaguar Project, 2114 W. Grant Rd., Ste. 121, Tucson, AZ 85745, USA
*Corresponding author:

ABSTRACT: Ocelots Leopardus pardalis are legally protected in Mexico as an endangered species. The main threats throughout the species’ range are habitat loss and fragmentation. The ocelot population that inhabits Sonora, Mexico, is at the northern limit of the species’ distribution and knowledge about it is still scarce. We used remote camera data from 2010-2012 and spatially explicit capture-recapture (SECR) models for density estimation, and the Barker robust design mark-recapture model to estimate survival, abundance, and density of ocelots in an arid region in northeastern Sonora. Average apparent survival was 0.65 for females and 0.63 for males; abundance estimates (mean ± SE) ranged from 2.02 ± 0.13 to 7.06 ± 0.24 ocelots. Average (±SE) density was 0.63 ± 0.06 females 100 km-2 and 0.95 ± 0.08 males 100 km-2 using Barker robust design, and 0.51 ± 0.26 females 100 km-2 and 0.77 ± 0.25 males 100 km-2 using the SECR. Our survival and density estimates are the lowest reported. However, due to the low human population density in our study area, we consider that our findings must be associated with natural processes rather than human-caused disturbance, without dismissing an additive factor by the latter. Arid environmental features could have a negative influence on primary productivity and consequently on prey availability, limiting ocelot survival and density in this region. Large tracts of unpopulated wildlands over a non-fragmented landscape favor ocelots in this area, and it is important to maintain current habitat conditions for this Neotropical species to continue thriving in this region of North America.

KEY WORDS: Leopardus pardalis · Ocelot survival · Density · Sonora · Mexico · Mark-recapture

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Cite this article as: Gómez-Ramírez MÁ, Gutiérrez-González CE, López-González CA (2017) Ocelots thrive in a non-typical habitat of northwestern Mexico. Endang Species Res 32:471-478.

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