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ESR 52:113-127 (2023)  -  DOI:

Characteristics of ocelot populations in Tamaulipas, Mexico, using capture–recapture techniques

Mitch A. Sternberg1, Greta M. Schmidt2, Rogelio Carrera-Treviño3,*, Omar A. Ocañas-García3, Francisco Illescas-Martínez4, Thomas deMaar5, Luis Jaime Peña6

1US Fish and Wildlife Service, South Texas Refuge Complex, Alamo 78516, Texas, USA
2Department of Biology, San Diego State University, San Diego 92192, California, USA
3Laboratorio de Fauna Silvestre, Facultad de Medicina Veterinaria y Zootecnia, Universidad Autónoma de Nuevo León, General Escobedo, Nuevo León 66050, México
4Sociedad Civil para Conservación y Desarrollo de Espacios Naturales, Ciudad Madero 89514, Tamaulipas, México
5Friends of Laguna Atascosa National Wildlife Refuge, Rio Hondo 78566, Texas, USA
6Brownsville 78520, Texas, USA
*Corresponding author:

ABSTRACT: Although the ocelot Leopardus pardalis is listed as endangered in the USA and Mexico, research on the characteristics of ocelot populations in northeastern Mexico has been limited. Effective conservation strategies in this binational region can benefit from additional information on the distribution and status of these populations. We estimated ocelot abundance and density using capture-recapture data from remote cameras at 2 locations in Tamaulipas: 1 inland site near the Sierra Tamaulipas and 1 coastal site along the Laguna Madre. The inland site was sampled in 2013 with 32 camera stations, and estimated densities (mean ± SE ocelots per 100 km2) using non-spatial and spatial modeling approaches were 17.57 ± 1.10 and 28.19 ± 6.81, respectively. The coastal site was sampled in 2017 with 16 camera stations, and estimated densities using non-spatial and spatial modeling approaches were 59.03 ± 2.32 and 43.24 ± 7.24, respectively. These are the first published ocelot densities for these locations, and these sites represent the closest known populations to those in Texas, USA. The ocelot populations surveyed appear to be robust, with estimated abundances similar to or greater than other areas surveyed within the state of Tamaulipas. Future work should monitor the long-term status and connectivity of these and other nearby populations to inform management actions to ensure their continued existence, as well as to assess whether they could serve as suitable sources for the translocation of individuals into existing populations in need of genetic rescue in Texas.

KEY WORDS: Leopardus pardalis · Northeastern Mexico · Camera trap · Spatial capture-recapture · Program MARK · Population density · Translocation

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Cite this article as: Sternberg MA, Schmidt GM, Carrera-Treviño R, Ocañas-García OA, Illescas-Martínez F, deMaar T, Peña LJ (2023) Characteristics of ocelot populations in Tamaulipas, Mexico, using capture–recapture techniques. Endang Species Res 52:113-127.

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