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Home range and habitat use by Geoffroy's cat (Oncifelis geoffroyi) in a wet grassland in Argentina

Authors

  • C. Manfredi,

    1. Grupo de Ecología Comportamental de Mamíferos (GECM), Cát. Fisiología Animal, Depto. Biología, Bioquímica y Farmacia, Universidad Nacional del Sur, Bahía Blanca, Argentina
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  • L. Soler,

    1. Grupo de Ecología Comportamental de Mamíferos (GECM), Cát. Fisiología Animal, Depto. Biología, Bioquímica y Farmacia, Universidad Nacional del Sur, Bahía Blanca, Argentina
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  • M. Lucherini,

    1. Grupo de Ecología Comportamental de Mamíferos (GECM), Cát. Fisiología Animal, Depto. Biología, Bioquímica y Farmacia, Universidad Nacional del Sur, Bahía Blanca, Argentina
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  • E. B. Casanave

    1. Grupo de Ecología Comportamental de Mamíferos (GECM), Cát. Fisiología Animal, Depto. Biología, Bioquímica y Farmacia, Universidad Nacional del Sur, Bahía Blanca, Argentina
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Correspondence
Mauro Lucherini, Grupo de Ecología Comportamental de Mamíferos (GECM), Cát. Fisiología Animal, Depto. Biología, Bioquímica y Farmacia, Universidad Nacional del Sur, San Juan 670, (8000) Bahía Blanca, Argentina.
Email: luengos@criba.edu.ar

Abstract

Geoffroy's cat Oncifelis geoffroyi is a little-known South American small felid. We report data on the spatial ecology of four adults (two males and two females) that were radiotracked in an area of wet grassland of the Argentine Pampas from February 2000 to April 2001. The mean home range size varied from 248 ha [90% minimum convex polygon (MCP)] to 342 ha (100% MCP), with male home ranges c. 2.5 larger than those of females. Home range overlap averaged 44.7%, and was more extensive between males than between females but it decreased markedly when outliers were excluded. Forest patches were used more than expected by their availability within home ranges. These patches hosted many large defecation sites, possibly acting as ‘communication centres’ where information was exchanged among individuals in the form of scent marks. Despite the lack of a clear preference for tall grasslands, this was the most frequently used habitat. We argue that natural grasslands in the Pampas ecoregion are important for O. geoffroyi and that their alteration can affect the conservation status of this cat. The comparison of our data with those reported previously suggests that Geoffroy's cat can show a certain degree of flexibility in its spatial behaviour.

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