Cougar and jaguar habitat use and activity patterns in central Mexico

in Animal Biology
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Abstract

In this study the habitat use and activity patterns of the two of the largest cats of the Americas in central Mexico were studied. Three ways to detect felid presence were employed from August 2002 to May 2006: interviews, signs, and camera-traps. 478 records were obtained, from which 441 were from cougar and 37 from jaguar. These records included positive response in 118 of 140 interviews and 236 records of signs (mainly tracks and scats), and 124 photographs. Both felids preferred pine-oak forest habitats, with altitudes higher than 1800 m, distances between 3509 and 4377 m from roads, between 2329 and 4650 m from settlements, and distances to very steep slopes between 1048 and 2059 m, for jaguar, and for cougar lower than 1047 m. Jaguar activity was recorded mainly during nighttimes, between 0:00 and 6:00, whereas cougar was active between 4:00 and 6:00 and between 18:00 and 22:00 hours, avoiding the jaguar's principal activity period.

Cougar and jaguar habitat use and activity patterns in central Mexico

in Animal Biology

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