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ESR prepress abstract   -  DOI:

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

Mitch A. Sternberg, Greta M. Schmidt, Rogelio Carrera-Treviño*, Omar A. Ocañas-García, Francisco Illescas-Martínez, Thomas deMaar, Luis Jaime Peña

*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 two locations in Tamaulipas: one inland site near the Sierra Tamaulipas and one coastal site along the Laguna Madre. The inland site was sampled in 2013 with 32 camera stations, and estimated densities (ocelots/ 100 km2 ± SE) 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.