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Keywords:

  • Brazil;
  • Cerrado;
  • Chrysocyon brachyurus;
  • maned wolf;
  • mark–recapture models;
  • radio-telemetry;
  • survival rate

Abstract

Although many carnivores are of conservation concern, most are poorly studied. The maned wolf Chrysocyon brachyurus Illiger, 1811 is the largest South American canid with a broad distribution; however, the largest portion of its range is in the Brazilian Cerrado savannah, where due to intensive agricultural expansion, it is threatened by habitat loss. Maned wolf population trends are virtually unknown. We analyzed radio telemetry data from a 13-year study in Emas National Park, central Brazil, with Burnham's live recapture/dead recovery models in the program MARK to obtain the first analytically sound estimate of the apparent maned wolf survival rate. We constructed 16 candidate models including variation in survival rate and resighting probability associated with an individual's sex or age and year of study. Apparent adult survival rate throughout the study ranged from 0.28 (se=0.08) to 0.97 (se=0.06). There was no evidence for sex specificity but strong support for time variation. Model weights supported an age effect and the subadult survival rate was 0.63 (se=0.15). Results indicate similar life patterns for male and female maned wolves and similar mortality risks for adults and subadults in the study area. The observed temporal fluctuations of adult survival rate are important for population dynamics as they decrease average population growth rates. Population dynamics are central for conservation planning and our results are an important step towards a better understanding of the maned wolf's ecology.