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Coexistence of jaguar (Panthera onca) and puma (Puma concolor) in a mosaic landscape in the Venezuelan llanos

Authors

  • Daniel Scognamillo,

    Corresponding author
    1. Department of Wildlife Ecology and Conservation, University of Florida, Gainesville, P.O. Box 110430, Gainesville, FL 32611-0430, U.S.A.
      * present address: D. Scognamillo, School of Renewable Natural Resources, Louisiana State University AgCenter, Baton Rouge, LA 70803, U.S.A.
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  • Inés Esperanza Maxit,

    1. Department of Wildlife Ecology and Conservation, University of Florida, Gainesville, P.O. Box 110430, Gainesville, FL 32611-0430, U.S.A.
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  • Mel Sunquist,

    1. Department of Wildlife Ecology and Conservation, University of Florida, Gainesville, P.O. Box 110430, Gainesville, FL 32611-0430, U.S.A.
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  • John Polisar

    1. Department of Wildlife Ecology and Conservation, University of Florida, Gainesville, P.O. Box 110430, Gainesville, FL 32611-0430, U.S.A.
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* present address: D. Scognamillo, School of Renewable Natural Resources, Louisiana State University AgCenter, Baton Rouge, LA 70803, U.S.A.

Abstract

Jaguar Panthera onca and puma Puma concolor are sympatric throughout the jaguar's distribution. Although several studies have focused on the interactions between these two predators, the ecological and behavioural factors that promote their coexistence remain unclear. The goal of this study was to identify those factors that facilitate the coexistence of these cats in a mosaic landscape in the Venezuelan llanos. The study was conducted from January 1996 until November 1998. Five jaguars and six pumas were captured and radio-collared. A high degree of spatial overlap was observed between jaguars and pumas, which may be related to the abundance and distribution of prey species. At a fine scale, there was little overlap of puma locations with jaguar locations. Both species were more active at night than during daytime, but seasonal differences were detected in the activity levels of these predators. Major segregation was found in food habits. Jaguars selected for large prey and pumas for medium-sized prey. Jaguars selected for capybara Hydrochaeris hydrochaeris and collared peccary Tayassu tajacu and consumed caiman Caiman crocodilus and white-tailed deer Odocoileus virginianus less than expected. Pumas selected just for collared peccary and also killed caiman less than expected. It is suggested that the abundance of medium-sized prey is an ecological factor that is facilitating the coexistence of jaguar and puma in the study area. Habitat heterogeneity may be another influential factor leading to the coexistence. Seasonal differences in activity levels probably reflect differences in the size and species of prey taken by these cats.

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