Instituto Pro Carnivoros

Atibaia, Brazil

Instituto Pro Carnivoros

Atibaia, Brazil
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Trigo T.C.,Federal University of Rio Grande do Sul | Schneider A.,Grande Rio University | De Oliveira T.G.,Instituto Pro Carnivoros | De Oliveira T.G.,State University of Maranhão | And 5 more authors.
Current Biology | Year: 2013

Hybridization among animal species has recently become more recognized as an important phenomenon, especially in the context of recent radiations [1-9]. Here we show that complex hybridization has led to contrasting patterns of genomic composition among closely related species of the Neotropical cat genus Leopardus. We show strong evidence of ancient hybridization and introgression between the pampas cat (L. colocolo) and northeastern populations of tigrina (L. tigrinus), leading to remarkable cytonuclear discordance in the latter. In contrast, southern tigrina populations show recent and continuing hybridization with Geoffroy's cat (L. geoffroyi), leading to extreme levels of interspecific admixture at their contact zone. Finally, we demonstrate that two seemingly continuous Brazilian tigrina populations show no evidence of ongoing gene flow between them, leading us to support their formal recognition as distinct species, namely L. tigrinus in the northeast and L. guttulus in the south. © 2013 Elsevier Ltd.

Haag T.,Federal University of Rio Grande do Sul | Santos A.S.,Grande Rio University | Sana D.A.,Instituto Pro Carnivoros | Morato R.G.,Instituto Pro Carnivoros | And 6 more authors.
Molecular Ecology | Year: 2010

Habitat fragmentation may disrupt original patterns of gene flow and lead to drift-induced differentiation among local population units. Top predators such as the jaguar may be particularly susceptible to this effect, given their low population densities, leading to small effective sizes in local fragments. On the other hand, the jaguar's high dispersal capabilities and relatively long generation time might counteract this process, slowing the effect of drift on local populations over the time frame of decades or centuries. In this study, we have addressed this issue by investigating the genetic structure of jaguars in a recently fragmented Atlantic Forest region, aiming to test whether loss of diversity and differentiation among local populations are detectable, and whether they can be attributed to the recent effect of drift. We used 13 microsatellite loci to characterize the genetic diversity present in four remnant populations, and observed marked differentiation among them, with evidence of recent allelic loss in local areas. Although some migrant and admixed individuals were identified, our results indicate that recent large-scale habitat removal and fragmentation among these areas has been sufficiently strong to promote differentiation induced by drift and loss of alleles at each site. Low estimated effective sizes supported the inference that genetic drift could have caused this effect within a short time frame. These results indicate that jaguars' ability to effectively disperse across the human-dominated landscapes that separate the fragments is currently very limited, and that each fragment contains a small, isolated population that is already suffering from the effects of genetic drift. © 2010 Blackwell Publishing Ltd.

Salinero M.C.,Federal University of Amapá | Michalski F.,Federal University of Amapá | Michalski F.,Instituto Pro Carnivoros
PLoS ONE | Year: 2016

The quantity of wildlife extracted from the Amazon has increased in the past decades as a consequence of an increase in human population density and income growth. To evaluate the spatial distribution of studies on subsistence and/or commercial hunting conducted in the Brazilian Amazon, we selected eight mid-sized and large-bodied aquatic vertebrate species with a history of human exploitation in the region.We used a combination of searches in the gray and scientific literature from the past 24 years to provide an updated distributional map of studies on the target species. We calculated the distances between the study sites and the locations of the research institutes/universities that the first and last authors of the same study were affiliated to. For the period of 1990 to 2014, we found 105 studies on the subsistence and/or commercial hunting of aquatic vertebrates in the Brazilian Amazon in 271 locations that involved 43 institutions (37 Brazilian and 6 international). The spatial distribution of the studies across the Brazilian Amazon varied, but over 80%took place in the northeast and central Amazon, encompassing three States of the Legal Brazilian Amazon (Amazonas, 51.42%; Pará, 19.05%; and Amapá, 16.19%). Over half of the research study sites (52.91%) were within 500 km of the research institute/university of the first or last authors. Some research institutes/universities did not have any inter-institutional collaborations, while others collaborated with eight or more institutes. Some research institutes/universities conducted many studies, had an extensive collaboration network, and contributed greatly to the network of studies on Amazonian aquatic vertebrates. Our research contributes to the knowledge of studies on the subsistence and/or commercial hunting of the most exploited aquatic vertebrates of the Brazilian Amazon, illustrates the impact that collaboration networks have on research, and highlights potential areas for improvement and the generation of new collaborations. © 2016 Salinero, Michalski. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.

Morato R.G.,Instituto Pro Carnivoros
Tropical Conservation Science | Year: 2013

We surveyed Brazilian protected areas to assess the scale of big cat hunting within the National Protected Areas System. A questionnaire was emailed to managers of 297 reserves, with a response rate of 33.7%. One-third of respondents reported that jaguars (Panthera onca) and/or pumas (Puma concolor) have been hunted recently (i.e., within the last two years) in their reserves, resulting in the deaths of at least 60 cats. Hierarchical partitioning analysis revealed that degree of restriction to human use in the reserve (as a four-level rank variable) was the most important factor affecting the probability of a manager reporting big cat hunting, with hunting reported three times more frequently in the less restrictive reserves than in the more restrictive ones. Though our study represents only a small fraction of the problem, it confirms that hunting is widespread and represents a threat to carnivore conservation within Brazilian protected areas. © Elildo Alves Ribeiro de Carvalho Jr and Ronaldo Gonçalves Morato.

Trinca C.S.,Federal University of Rio Grande do Sul | Trinca C.S.,Grande Rio University | Jaeger C.F.,Grande Rio University | Eizirik E.,Grande Rio University | Eizirik E.,Instituto Pro Carnivoros
Biological Journal of the Linnean Society | Year: 2013

Non-invasive genetic analysis has been frequently employed to estimate ecological and population parameters for many secretive and/or threatened species. However, Neotropical carnivores have so far been scarcely targeted by such studies. The Neotropical otter (Lontra longicaudis) is a poorly-known species for which local levels of genetic diversity and demographic parameters are virtually absent. We employed non-invasive sampling and amplification of microsatellite loci to investigate population size and density, spatial organization, and relatedness of a wild Neotropical otter population in an Atlantic forest area in southern Brazil. We directly identified 28 individuals and estimate a rather high population density at the study site. Spatial organization analysis indicated that male cumulative displacement was higher than that of females, with the latter sex showing evidence of philopatric behaviour. Also, the reconstruction of genealogical relationships suggests that spatial organization in this otter appears to be influenced by relatedness. By allowing the testing of specific hypothesis targeting these issues, our results provided important glimpses into the Neotropical otter's population biology. Moreover, the findings of the present study reaffirm the power of non-invasive genetics to investigate the biology of this elusive species, and open up new avenues for ecological and demographic studies of other Neotropical carnivores. © 2013 The Linnean Society of London.

Chaves P.B.,Grande Rio University | Graeff V.G.,Grande Rio University | Lion M.B.,University of Brasilia | Oliveira L.R.,University of the Rio dos Sinos Valley | And 2 more authors.
Molecular Ecology Resources | Year: 2012

Although species assignment of scats is important to study carnivore biology, there is still no standardized assay for the identification of carnivores worldwide, which would allow large-scale routine assessments and reliable cross-comparison of results. Here, we evaluate the potential of two short mtDNA fragments [ATP6 (126bp) and cytochrome oxidase I gene (COI) (187bp)] to serve as standard markers for the Carnivora. Samples of 66 species were sequenced for one or both of these segments. Alignments were complemented with archival sequences and analysed with three approaches (tree-based, distance-based and character-based). Intraspecific genetic distances were generally lower than between-species distances, resulting in diagnosable clusters for 86% (ATP6) and 85% (COI) of the species. Notable exceptions were recently diverged species, most of which could still be identified using diagnostic characters and uniqueness of haplotypes or by reducing the geographic scope of the comparison. In silico analyses were also performed for a 110-bp cytochrome b (cytb) segment, whose identification success was lower (70%), possibly due to the smaller number of informative sites and/or the influence of misidentified sequences obtained from GenBank. Finally, we performed case studies with faecal samples, which supported the suitability of our two focal markers for poor-quality DNA and allowed an assessment of prey DNA co-amplification. No evidence of prey DNA contamination was found for ATP6, while some cases were observed for COI and subsequently eliminated by the design of more specific primers. Overall, our results indicate that these segments hold good potential as standard markers for accurate species-level identification in the Carnivora. © 2011 Blackwell Publishing Ltd.

Azevedo F.C.C.,Federal University of Säo João del Rei | Azevedo F.C.C.,Instituto Pro Carnivoros | Verdade L.M.,University of Sao Paulo
Journal of Zoology | Year: 2012

Advances in the understanding of ecological factors determining predator-prey interactions have provided a strong theoretical background on diet preferences of predators. We examined patterns of jaguar predation on caiman in southern Pantanal, Brazil. We investigated factors affecting predation rates and vulnerability of caiman to predation by jaguars. We recorded 114 caiman mortality incidents. Predation accounted for 62.3% (n = 71) of all caiman found dead, while other causes of mortality (nonpredation) accounted for 37.7% (n = 43). We found that jaguars prey on a broad size range of caiman body and caiman predation was influenced by distance to forests. During dry seasons, 70% (n = 49) of deaths were due to predation, while 30% (n = 21) were due to nonpredation causes. However, we found no significant relationship between annual and monthly killings of caiman and rainfall totals by year and month (r = 0.130, r = -0.316). The annual flooding regime may be a more important factor influencing prey selection by jaguars. Although neotropical crocodilians are relatively well studied, their interactions with jaguars have been mostly ignored and should be prioritized in future studies. © 2011 The Authors. Journal of Zoology © 2011 The Zoological Society of London.

Norris D.,Av. Mariland 1367 1001 | Michalski F.,University of Sao Paulo | Michalski F.,Instituto Pro Carnivoros
ORYX | Year: 2010

Monitoring rare and elusive species for effective management and conservation is particularly challenging and often demands the development of specialized techniques. Scat surveys have been applied to monitor a variety of rare species but relatively little attention has been given to the development of appropriate sampling designs. To determine if scat surveys could be applied to compare the distribution of species across three habitats of a fragmented region in the Brazilian Amazon, the removal of human (n = 27) and jaguar (n = 27) scat samples in forest, riparian corridor and pasture habitats was recorded for 24 hours. Dung beetles were responsible for removing the majority of samples (71%) and a generalized linear mixed effect model revealed significant influence of habitat and scat type on removal probability, with forest and riparian corridors having higher removal compared with samples in pasture habitats. Although non-invasive scat surveys can potentially address fundamental broad-scale conservation and management questions, our results demonstrate that scat surveys in the tropics must account for differences in scat removal rates between habitats and target species before conclusions can be drawn regarding patterns of habitat use. © 2010 Fauna & Flora International.

Eizirik E.,Pontifical Catholic University of Rio Grande do Sul | Eizirik E.,U.S. National Institutes of Health | Eizirik E.,Instituto Pro Carnivoros | Murphy W.J.,Texas A&M University | And 5 more authors.
Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution | Year: 2010

The mammalian order Carnivora has attracted the attention of scientists of various disciplines for decades, leading to intense interest in defining its supra-familial relationships. In the last few years, major changes to the topological structure of the carnivoran tree have been proposed and supported by various molecular data sets, radically changing the traditional view of family composition in this order. Although a sequence of molecular studies have established a growing consensus with respect to most inter-familial relationships, no analysis so far has included all carnivoran lineages (both feliform and caniform) in an integrated data set, so as to determine comparative patterns of diversification. Moreover, no study conducted thus far has estimated divergence dates among all carnivoran families, which is an important requirement in the attempt to understand the patterns and tempo of diversification in this group. In this study, we have investigated the phylogenetic relationships among carnivoran families, and performed molecular dating analyses of the inferred nodes. We assembled a molecular supermatrix containing 14 genes (7765 bp), most of which have not been previously used in supra-familial carnivoran phylogenetics, for 50 different genera representing all carnivoran families. Analysis of this data set led to consistent and robust resolution of all supra-familial nodes in the carnivoran tree, and allowed the construction of a molecular timescale for the evolution of this mammalian order. © 2010 Elsevier Inc.

Michalski F.,University of Sao Paulo | Michalski F.,Instituto Pro Carnivoros | Metzger J.P.,University of Sao Paulo | Peres C.A.,University of East Anglia
Global Environmental Change | Year: 2010

Deforestation in Brazilian Amazonia accounts for a disproportionate global scale fraction of both carbon emissions from biomass burning and biodiversity erosion through habitat loss. Here we use field- and remote-sensing data to examine the effects of private landholding size on the amount and type of forest cover retained within economically active rural properties in an aging southern Amazonian deforestation frontier. Data on both upland and riparian forest cover from a survey of 300 rural properties indicated that 49.4% (SD = 29.0%) of the total forest cover was maintained as of 2007, and that property size is a key regional-scale determinant of patterns of deforestation and land-use change. Small properties (≤150. ha) retained a lower proportion of forest (20.7%, SD = 17.6) than did large properties (>150. ha; 55.6%, SD = 27.2). Generalized linear models showed that property size had a positive effect on remaining areas of both upland and total forest cover. Using a Landsat time-series, the age of first clear-cutting that could be mapped within the boundaries of each property had a negative effect on the proportion of upland, riparian, and total forest cover retained. Based on these data, we show contrasts in land-use strategies between smallholders and largeholders, as well as differences in compliance with legal requirements in relation to minimum forest cover set-asides within private landholdings. This suggests that property size structure must be explicitly considered in landscape-scale conservation planning initiatives guiding agro-pastoral frontier expansion into remaining areas of tropical forest. © 2010 Elsevier Ltd.

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