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Keywords:

  • Amazon;
  • occupancy;
  • ungulates;
  • tapir;
  • peccary;
  • red brocket deer

Abstract

Conservation areas in tropical forests protect the most diverse and threatened ecosystems on the planet. In the Amazon, ungulates are important determinants of forest structure and plant diversity, as well as being a resource for rural communities. Using occupancy-based methods, we estimated the occurrence of white-lipped peccary Tayassu pecari, collared peccary Pecari tajacu, lowland tapir Tapirus terrestris and red brocket deer Mazama americana in and around protected areas reserve in Tambopata, Peru, to evaluate how different management designation, anthropogenic influences and habitat type influenced the occurrence of each species. We used a combination of track surveys (n=258) and camera surveys (n=256) to estimate ungulate presence at 55 sites in a national reserve, a native community and adjacent buffer areas from May 2008 to March 2009. We found that prediction of the occurrence of white-lipped peccary, lowland tapir and red brocket deer was best accomplished using travel time from the nearest city (a measure of an area's accessibility). The occurrence of ungulates differed little between buffer and reserves, but community lands managed by indigenous peoples showed reduced probabilities of ungulate occurrence. Our results indicate that passive protection afforded by inaccessibility might be an effective management strategy for this region; however, we doubt that this is tenable as a long-term solution.