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Arroyo-Arce S.,National University of Costa Rica | Guilder J.,Global Vision International GVI Costa Rica | Salom-Perez R.,San Jose State University
Revista de Biologia Tropical | Year: 2014

Habitat characteristics and human activities are known to play a major role in the occupancy of jaguars Panthera onca across their range, however the key variables influencing jaguar distribution in Tortuguero National Park, Costa Rica, have yet to be identified. This study evaluated jaguar occupancy in Tortuguero National Park and the surrounding area. Jaguar detection/non-detection data was collected using digital camera traps distributed within the boundaries of the protected area. Local community members were also interviewed to determine jaguar occurrence in the Park’s buffer zone. Occupancy models were then applied to identify the habitat characteristics that may better explain jaguar distribution across the study area. From June 2012 to June 2013, a total of 4 339 camera trap days were used to identify 18 individual jaguars inside the protected area; 17 of these jaguars were exclusively detected within the coastal habitat, whilst the remaining individual was detected solely within the interior of the Park. Interviewees reported 61 occasions of jaguar presence inside the buffer zone, between 1995 and 2013, with 80% of these described by the communities of Lomas de Sierpe, Barra de Parismina and La Aurora. These communities also reported the highest levels of livestock predation by jaguars (85% of attacks). In the study area, jaguar occurrence was positively correlated with the seasonal presence of nesting green turtles Chelonia mydas, and negatively correlated with distance to the Park boundary. Our findings suggested that the current occupancy of the jaguar in the study area may be a response to: 1) the vast availability of prey (marine turtles) on Tortuguero beach, 2) the decline of its primary prey species as a result of illegal hunting inside the Park, and 3) the increase in anthropogenic pressures in the Park boundaries. © 2014, Universidad de Costa Rica. All rights reserved.

Guilder J.,Global Vision International GVI Costa Rica | Barca B.,Global Vision International GVI Costa Rica | Arroyo-Arce S.,National University of Costa Rica | Gramajo R.,Global Vision International GVI Costa Rica | Salom-Perez R.,Panthera Costa Rica
Mammalian Biology | Year: 2015

Jaguar (. Panthera onca) predation of green turtles (. Chelonia mydas mydas) is now a common occurrence in Tortuguero National Park, Costa Rica. The abundance of green turtles during nesting season ensures a constant provision of easy and predictable prey, however it is unknown to what extent jaguars consume turtle carcasses and how the jaguar population responds to limited turtle availability outside of nesting season. This study took advantage of the accessible nature of jaguar-predated turtle carcasses on Tortuguero Beach over a two year period (2011-2013), to provide a novel analysis of carcass utilization rates by jaguars and determine the effects of temporal fluctuations in green turtle nesting numbers. Camera traps were set-up on freshly predated turtles to capture jaguar activity across both Peak and Non Peak green turtle nesting seasons. Thirteen individual jaguars (five males, five females, three cubs) were captured returning to 77% of monitored turtle kills (60% Peak; 95% Non Peak). During Non Peak season, the number of jaguars per kill increased (. H(1). =. 15.91, p<. 0.001) and total jaguar feeding time per kill also increased (. H(1). =. 13.34, p<. 0.001). The propensity for tolerated scavenging or sharing during Non Peak season is illustrated by four adult jaguars captured interacting with a kill at separate times over two nights in October, 2012 (two males, two females). There were no significant differences between males and females, although there is a tendency for the latter to handle the prey to a greater extent. Although marine turtles may not to be a primary prey species, they play an important role in subsidizing the jaguars in this study. The increased kill utilization rates and prey sharing displayed by the jaguars, ensures optimal foraging during periods of low prey availability. These apparently atypical feeding behaviors may be unique to Tortuguero, however their prevalence across the jaguar's range should be considered. © 2014 Deutsche Gesellschaft für Säugetierkunde.

Chiacchio M.,Global Vision International GVI Costa Rica | Chiacchio M.,Imperial College London
Tropical Ecology | Year: 2016

While typically insectivorous avian species may occasionally consume small vertebrates, it is still a rarely directly observed phenomenon, limited to few species. Herein I report what is apparently the first incident of a northern barred woodcreeper (Dendrocolaptidae, Dendrocolaptes sanctithomae) catching a frog. The observation reported was made on the 3 August 2014 at Jalova Biological Station, Tortuguero National Park, Costa Rica. This observation is a useful addition to the scant knowledge on predation on vertebrates by tropical passerines. © International Society for Tropical Ecology.

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