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Impacts of Anthropogenic Pressures on Ocelots (Leopardus pardalis) in the Maya Biosphere Reserve in Guatemala

Maria Gabriela Palomo Munoz, University of Nebraska - Lincoln


Ocelots are a Neotropical mesocarnivore and there is little research on the effects of human activities on their populations. The Maya Biosphere Reserve (MBR) in Guatemala provides a study area in which we can investigate anthropogenic effects on ocelots’ ecology. We reviewed the literature on niche theory and describe a new concept called the anthropogenic niche in which we incorporate anthropogenic effects on carnivore’s realized niche. Human activities influence wildlife in ways that need to be differentiated from other effects on a species’ realized niche. We used camera trap data from four protected areas in the MBR. In chapter 2 we estimate ocelot density across an anthropogenic niche and draw attention to estimate population parameters outside of forests and protected areas. We found that ocelot populations exhibited higher density in areas with higher landscape integrity and higher degree of protection, and lowest density estimates and higher space use in areas outside of the forest. Landscape changes due to anthropogenic effects may alter the interspecific interactions in a carnivore guild increasing interspecific competition and interactions. We studied occupancy and co-occurrence patterns between these species along an anthropogenic gradient by using multi-species occupancy models. Our results showed that the occupancy of all species was positively affected by forest integrity. Investigating the mechanisms in which carnivores segregate to facilitate coexistence and reduce competition will help researchers understand how a community is structured in changing environments. We investigated temporal and spatio-temporal patterns in jaguar, puma, ocelot, and gray fox across an anthropogenic landscape in the MBR. We showed how carnivores may be using these mechanisms to coexist in an anthropogenic landscape as well as the effects of human activities on their spatio-temporal patterns. Understanding carnivores’ temporal and spatio-temporal patterns can help inform local and regional conservation plans to avoid or minimize conflicts with humans and promote coexistence.

Subject Area

Ecology|Wildlife Conservation|Wildlife Management

Recommended Citation

Palomo Munoz, Maria Gabriela, "Impacts of Anthropogenic Pressures on Ocelots (Leopardus pardalis) in the Maya Biosphere Reserve in Guatemala" (2021). ETD collection for University of Nebraska - Lincoln. AAI28964974.