24 Works

Data from: Robust inference on large-scale species habitat use with interview data: the status of jaguars outside protected areas in Central America

Lisanne S. Petracca, Jacqueline L. Frair, Jonathan B. Cohen, Ana Patricia Calderón, Javier Carazo-Salazar, Franklin Castañeda, Daniel Corrales-Gutiérrez, Rebecca J. Foster, Bart Harmsen, Sandra Hernández-Potosme, Luis Herrera, Melva Olmos, Sandy Pereira, Hugh S. Robinson, Nathaniel Robinson, Roberto Salom-Pérez, Yahaira Urbina, Kathy A. Zeller & Howard Quigley
Evaluating range-wide habitat use by a target species requires information on species occurrence over broad geographic regions, a process made difficult by species rarity, large spatiotemporal sampling domains, and imperfect detection. We address these challenges in an assessment of habitat use for jaguars (Panthera onca) outside protected areas in Central America. Occurrence records were acquired within 12 putative corridors using interviews with knowledgeable corridor residents. We developed a Bayesian hierarchical occupancy model to gain robust...

Response of lion demography and dynamics to the loss of preferred larger prey

Milan Vinks, Scott Creel, Paul Schuette, Matthew Becker, Elias Rosenblatt, Carolyn Sanguinetti, Kambwiri Banda, Ben Goodheart, Kim Young-Overton, Xia Stevens, Clive Chifunte, Neil Midlane & Chuma Simukonda
Large carnivores are experiencing range contraction and population declines globally. Prey depletion due to illegal offtake is considered a major contributor, but the effects of prey depletion on large carnivore demography are rarely tested. We measured African lion density and tested the factors that affect survival using mark-recapture models fit to six years of data from known individuals in Kafue National Park (KNP), Zambia. KNP is affected by prey depletion, particularly for large herbivores that...

Data from: Ecological opportunity drives individual dietary specialisation in leopards

Guy Balme, Nikki Le Roex, Matthew Rogan & Luke Hunter
1. Individual specialisation, when individuals exploit only a subset of resources utilised by the population, is a widespread phenomenon. It provides the basis for evolutionary diversification and can impact population and community dynamics. Both phenotypic traits and environmental conditions are predicted to influence individual specialisation; however, its adaptive consequences are poorly understood, particularly among large mammalian carnivores that play an important role in shaping ecosystems. 2. We used observations of 2960 kills made by 49...

Data from: Leopard distribution and abundance is unaffected by interference competition with lions

Guy A. Balme, Ross T. Pitman, Hugh S. Robinson, Jennie R.B. Miller, Paul J. Funston & Luke T.B. Hunter
Competition can have profound impacts on the structure and function of ecological communities. Despite this, the population-level effects of intraguild competition on large carnivores remain largely unknown, due to a paucity of long-term studies that focus simultaneously on competing species. Here, we comprehensively examine competitive interactions, including their demographic consequences, between 2 top predators, lions Panthera leo and leopards P. pardus. We tested the hypothesis that lions, as the dominant competitor, limit the distribution and...

Data from: Cats, connectivity and conservation: incorporating datasets and integrating scales for wildlife management

Ross T. Pitman, Julien Fattebert, Samual T. Williams, Kathryn S. Williams, Russell A. Hill, Luke T. B. Hunter, Hugh Robinson, John Power, Lourens Swanepoel, Rob Slotow & Guy A. Balme
Understanding resource selection and quantifying habitat connectivity are fundamental to conservation planning for both land-use and species management plans. However, datasets available to management authorities for resource selection and connectivity analyses are often highly limited and fragmentary. As a result, measuring connectivity is challenging, and often poorly integrated within conservation planning and wildlife management. To exacerbate the challenge, scale-dependent resource use makes inference across scales problematic, resource use is often modelled in areas where the...

Data from: Ecological correlates of the spatial co-occurrence of sympatric mammalian carnivores worldwide

Courtney L. Davis, Lindsey N. Rich, Zach J. Farris, Marcella J. Kelly, Mario S. Di Bitetti, Yamil Di Blanco, Sebastian Albanesi, Mohammad S. Farhadinia, Navid Gholikhani, Sandra Hamel, Bart J. Harmsen, Claudia Wultsch, Mamadou D. Kane, Quinton Martins, Asia J. Murphy, Robin Steenweg, S. Sunarto, Atieh Taktehrani, Kanchan Thapa, Jody M. Tucker, Jesse Whittington, Febri A. Widodo, Nigel G. Yoccoz & David A.W. Miller
The composition of local mammalian carnivore communities has far-reaching effects on terrestrial ecosystems worldwide. To better understand how carnivore communities are structured, we analyzed camera trap data for 108,087 trap days across 12 countries spanning 5 continents. We estimate local probabilities of co-occurrence among 768 species pairs from the order Carnivora and evaluate how shared ecological traits correlated with probabilities of co-occurrence. Within individual study areas, species pairs co-occurred more frequently than expected at random....

Data from: The role of scent marking in mate selection by female pumas (Puma concolor)

Maximilian L. Allen, Heiko U. Wittmer, Paul Houghtaling, Justine A. Smith, L. Mark Elbroch, Christopher C. Wilmers & Justine Smith
Mate selection influences individual fitness, is often based on complex cues and behaviours, and can be difficult to study in solitary species including carnivores. We used motion-triggered cameras at 29 community scrapes (i.e. scent marking locations used by multiple individuals) and home range data from 39 GPS-collared pumas (Puma concolor) to assess the relevance of communication behaviours for mate selection by female pumas in California. Female pumas visited community scrapes irregularly and visitation bouts appeared...

Data from: Flexibility in the duration of parental care: female leopards prioritise cub survival over reproductive output

Guy A. Balme, Hugh S. Robinson, Ross T. Pitman & Luke T. B. Hunter
1.Deciding when to terminate care of offspring is a key consideration for parents. Prolonging care may increase fitness of current offspring, but it can also reduce opportunities for future reproduction. Despite its evolutionary importance, few studies have explored the optimal duration of parental care, particularly among large carnivores. 2.We used a 40-year dataset to assess the trade-offs associated with the length of maternal care in leopards in the Sabi Sand Game Reserve, South Africa. We...

Data from: An adaptable but threatened big cat: density, diet and prey selection of the Indochinese leopard (Panthera pardus delacouri) in eastern Cambodia

Susana Rostro-García, Jan F. Kamler, Rachel Crouthers, Keo Sopheak, Sovanna Prum, Visattha In, Chanratana Pin, Anthony Caragiulo & David W. Macdonald
We studied the Indochinese leopard (Panthera pardus delacouri) in eastern Cambodia, in one of the few potentially remaining viable populations in Southeast Asia. The aims were to determine the: (i) current leopard density in Srepok Wildlife Sanctuary (SWS) and (ii) diet, prey selection and predation impact of leopard in SWS. The density, estimated using spatially explicit capture–recapture models, was 1.0 leopard/100 km2, 72% lower than an estimate from 2009 at the same site, and one...

Data from: Jaguar Movement Database: a GPS-based movement dataset of an apex predator in the Neotropics

Ronaldo G. Morato, Jeffrey J. Thompson, Agustín Paviolo, J. Antonio De La Torre, Fernando Lima, , Rogério C. Paula, , Leandro Silveira, Daniel L.Z. Kantek, Emiliano E. Ramalho, Louise Maranhão, Mario Haberfeld, Denis A. Sana, Rodrigo A. Medellin, Eduardo Carrillo, Victor Montalvo, Octavio Monroy-Vilchis, Paula Cruz, Anah Tereza Jácomo, Natalia M. Torres, Giselle B. Alves, Ivonne Cassaigne, Ron Thompson, Carolina Saenz-Bolanos … & Joares A. May
The field of movement ecology has rapidly grown during the last decade, with important advancements in tracking devices and analytical tools that have provided unprecedented insights into where, when, and why species move across a landscape. Although there has been an increasing emphasis on making animal movement data publicly available, there has also been a conspicuous dearth in the availability of such data on large carnivores. Globally, large predators are of conservation concern. However, due...

Data from: Prey preference of snow leopard (Panthera uncia) in South Gobi, Mongolia

Wasim Shehzad, Thomas Michael McCarthy, François Pompanon, Lkhagvajav Purevjav, Eric Coissac, Tiayyba Riaz & Pierre Taberlet
Accurate information about the diet of large carnivores that are elusive and inhabit inaccessible terrain, is required to properly design conservation strategies. Predation on livestock and retaliatory killing of predators have become serious issues throughout the range of the snow leopard. Several feeding ecology studies of snow leopards have been conducted using classical approaches. These techniques have inherent limitations in their ability to properly identify both snow leopard feces and prey taxa. To examine the...

Data from: Multiple anthropogenic interventions drive puma survival following wolf recovery in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem

L. Mark Elbroch, Lucile Marescot, Howard Quigley, Derek Craighead & Heiko U. Wittmer
Humans are primary drivers of declining abundances and extirpation of large carnivores worldwide. Management interventions to restore biodiversity patterns, however, include carnivore reintroductions, despite the many unresolved ecological consequences associated with such efforts. Using multistate capture-mark-recapture models, we explored age-specific survival and cause-specific mortality rates for 134 pumas (Puma concolor) monitored in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem during gray wolf (Canis lupus) recovery. We identified two top models explaining differences in puma survivorship, and our results...

Data from: Spatial overlap in a solitary carnivore: support for the land-tenure, kinship, or resource dispersion hypotheses?

L. Mark Elbroch, Patrick E. Lendrum, Howard Quigley & Anthony Caragiulo
1. There are several alternative hypotheses about the effects of territoriality, kinship, and prey availability on individual carnivore distributions within populations. The first is the land-tenure hypothesis, which predicts that carnivores regulate their density through territoriality and temporal avoidance. The second is the kinship hypothesis, which predicts related individuals will be clumped within populations, and the third is the resource dispersion hypothesis, which suggests that resource richness may explain variable sociality, spatial overlap, or temporary...

Data from: Fenced and fragmented: conservation value of managed metapopulations

Susan M. Miller, Paulette Bloomer, Cindy K. Harper, Jennifer Hofmeyr & Paul J. Funston
Population fragmentation is threatening biodiversity worldwide. Species that once roamed vast areas are increasingly being conserved in small, isolated areas. Modern management approaches must adapt to ensure the continued survival and conservation value of these populations. In South Africa, a managed metapopulation approach has been adopted for several large carnivore species, all protected in isolated, relatively small, reserves that are fenced. As far as possible these approaches are based on natural metapopulation structures. In this...

Data from: Range-wide snow leopard phylogeography supports three subspecies

Jan E. Janecka, Yu-Quang Zhang, Di-Qiang Li, Munkhtsog Bariushaa, Bayaraa Munkhtsog, Galsandorj Naranbaatar, Wangchuk R. Tshewang, Karmacharya Dibesh, McCarthy Thomas, Li Juan, Zhi Lu, Zhumabai Uulu Kubanychbek, Gaur Ajay, Kumar Satish, B. Kumar Kesav, Hussain Shafqat, Muhammad Ghulam, Jevit Matthew, Hacker Charlotte, Burger Pamela, Wultsch Claudia, Janecka J. Mary, Helgen Kristofer, Murphy J. William & Jackson Rodney
The snow leopard, Panthera uncia, is an elusive high-altitude specialist that inhabits vast, inaccessible habitat across Asia. We conducted the first range-wide genetic assessment of snow leopards based on noninvasive scat surveys. Thirty-three microsatellites were genotyped and a total of 683-bp of mitochondrial DNA sequenced in 70 individuals. Snow leopards exhibited low genetic diversity at microsatellites (AN = 5.8, HO = 0.433, HE = 0.568), virtually no mtDNA variation, and underwent a bottleneck in the...

Data from: Structural habitat predicts functional dispersal habitat of a large carnivore: how leopards change spots

Julien Fattebert, Hugh S. Robinson, Guy Balme, Rob Slotow & Luke Hunter
Natal dispersal promotes inter-population linkage, and is key to spatial distribution of populations. Degradation of suitable landscape structures beyond the specific threshold of an individual's ability to disperse can therefore lead to disruption of functional landscape connectivity and impact metapopulation function. Because it ignores behavioral responses of individuals, structural connectivity is easier to assess than functional connectivity and is often used as a surrogate for landscape connectivity modeling. However using structural resource selection models as...

Data from: Genetic diversity and population structure of Mesoamerican jaguars (Panthera onca): implications for conservation and management

Claudia Wultsch, Anthony Caragiulo, Isabela Dias-Freedman, Howard Quigley, Salisa Rabinowitz & George Amato
Mesoamerican jaguars (Panthera onca) have been extirpated from over 77% of their historic range, inhabiting fragmented landscapes at potentially reduced population sizes. Maintaining and restoring genetic diversity and connectivity across human-altered landscapes has become a major conservation priority; nonetheless large-scale genetic monitoring of natural populations is rare. This is the first regional conservation genetic study of jaguars to primarily use fecal samples collected in the wild across five Mesoamerican countries: Belize, Costa Rica, Guatemala, Honduras,...

Data from: Continuous-time spatially explicit capture-recapture models, with an application to a jaguar camera-trap survey.

Rebecca Foster, Bart Harmsen, Lorenzo Milazzo, Greg Distiller & David Borchers
1. Many capture-recapture surveys of wildlife populations operate in continuous time but detections are typically aggregated into occasions for analysis, even when exact detection times are available. This discards information and introduces subjectivity, in the form of decisions about occasion definition. 2. We develop a spatio-temporal Poisson process model for spatially explicit capture-recapture (SECR) surveys that operate continuously and record exact detection times. We show that, except in some special cases (including the case in...

Data from: Lions and leopards coexist without spatial, temporal or demographic effects of interspecific competition

Jennifer R.B. Miller, Ross T. Pitman, Gareth K.H. Mann, Angela K. Fuller, Guy A. Balme, Jennifer R. B. Miller & Gareth K. H. Mann
1. Although interspecific competition plays a principle role in shaping species behaviour and demography, little is known about the population-level outcomes of competition between large carnivores, and the mechanisms that facilitate coexistence. 2. We conducted a multi-landscape analysis of two widely distributed, threatened large carnivore competitors to offer insight into coexistence strategies and assist with species-level conservation. 3. We evaluated how interference competition affects occupancy, temporal activity and population density of a dominant competitor, the...

Camera trap survey of jaguars from Cockscomb Basin Wildlife Sanctuary in Belize

Greg Distiller, David Borchers, Rebecca Foster & Bart Harmsen
These data are from a camera trap survey of jaguars in Cockscomb Basin Wildlife Sanctuary in Belize that ran for a 6 month period from August 2013 until February 2014. The associated manuscript contains analyses of these data using continuous-time spatial capture-recapture models, and demonstrates how one can make inference about animal activity patterns. The data include 287 detections of 19 individual male jaguars, and 44 detections of 8 individual female jaguars.

Data from: Assessing the umbrella value of a range-wide conservation network for jaguars (Panthera onca)

Daniel Thornton, Kathy Zeller, Carlo Rondinini, Luigi Boitani, Kevin Crooks, Christopher Burdett, Alan Rabinowitz & Howard Quigley
Umbrella species are employed as conservation short-cuts for the design of reserves or reserve networks. However, empirical data on the effectiveness of umbrellas is equivocal, which has prevented more widespread application of this conservation strategy. We perform a novel large-scale evaluation of umbrella species by assessing the potential umbrella value of a jaguar (Panthera onca) conservation network (consisting of viable populations and corridors) that extends from Mexico to Argentina. Using species richness, habitat quality, and...

Data from: Caching reduces kleptoparasitism in a solitary, large felid

Guy Balme, Jennifer R. B. Miller, Ross T. Pitman, Luke T. B. Hunter & Guy A. Balme
Food caching is a common strategy used by a diversity of animals, including carnivores, to store and/or secure food. Despite its prevalence, the drivers of caching behaviour, and its impacts on individuals, remain poorly understood, particularly for short-term food cachers. Leopards Panthera pardus exhibit a unique form of short-term food caching, regularly hoisting, storing and consuming prey in trees. We explored the factors motivating such behaviour among leopards in the Sabi Sand Game Reserve, South...

Data from: Continental divide: predicting climate-mediated fragmentation and biodiversity loss in the boreal forest

Dennis L. Murray, Michael J.L. Peers, Yasmine N. Majchrzak, Morgan Wehtje, Catarina Ferreira, Rob S.A. Pickles, Jeffrey R. Row, Daniel H. Thornton, Michael J. L. Peers & Rob S. A. Pickles
Climate change threatens natural landscapes through shifting distribution and abundance of species and attendant change in the structure and function of ecosystems. However, it remains unclear how climate-mediated variation in species' environmental niche space may lead to large-scale fragmentation of species distributions, altered meta-population dynamics and gene flow, and disrupted ecosystem integrity. Such change may be especially relevant when species distributions are restricted either spatially or to a narrow environmental niche, or when environments are...

Data from: Effective implementation of age restrictions increases selectivity of sport hunting of the African lion

Colleen M. Begg, Jennifer R. B. Miller & Keith S. Begg
1. Sport hunting of wildlife can play a role in conservation but can also drive population declines if not managed sustainably. Previous simulation modelling found that large felid species could theoretically be hunted sustainably by restricting harvests to older individuals that have likely reproduced. Several African countries currently use age-based hunting for lions although the outcomes have yet to be evaluated in a wild population. 2. Here we provide the first empirical evidence that a...

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