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Bangkok, Thailand

Kawanishi K.,University of Florida | Sunquist M.E.,University of Florida | Eizirik E.,Pontifical Catholic University of Rio Grande do Sul | Eizirik E.,Instituto Pro Carnivoros | And 6 more authors.
Journal of Zoology | Year: 2010

Melanistic leopards Panthera pardus are common in south-east Asian forests but the exact frequency of this variant phenotype is difficult to assess. Records from camera-trapping studies conducted at 22 locations in Peninsular Malaysia and southern Thailand between 1996 and 2009 show that only melanistic leopards were present in samples south of the Isthmus of Kra. During 42-565 trap-nights, we collected 445 photos of melanistic leopards and 29 photos of the spotted or non-melanistic morph. All 29 photos of spotted leopards came from study sites north of the Isthmus. These results indicate that this recessive trait may be nearly fixed in P. pardus populations of the Malay Peninsula, suggesting a unique evolutionary history of leopards in the region. Assuming a very small effective population size (Ne=100) and a high initial allelic frequency, at least 1000-years would be expected to elapse until a neutral allele became fixed. The severe bottleneck implied by this scenario provides a testable hypothesis that can be addressed using molecular markers and evidence of past glacioeustatic changes across the region. Although natural selection might lead to rapid fixation of melanism within Malayan leopards, had their effective population size been much larger (e.g. Ne=5000) and stable, with a lower allelic frequency, the fixation would require a longer time span (e.g. 20-000-years) if induced by genetic drift alone. © 2010 The Authors. Journal of Zoology © 2010 The Zoological Society of London. Source


Lynam A.J.,Wildlife Conservation Society | Jenks K.E.,University of New Hampshire | Jenks K.E.,University of Massachusetts Amherst | Jenks K.E.,Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute | And 15 more authors.
Raffles Bulletin of Zoology | Year: 2013

The behaviour of wild cats is poorly understood. Using camera-trapping, we quantified temporal overlap among seven species of Asian wild cats, including tiger Panthera tigris and leopard Panthera pardus. Based on time stamp data from 780 camera-traps and 24 study sites from 14 protected areas across Thailand, we assessed terrestrial activity patterns and temporal overlap in habitat use. For quantifying overlap, we used a coefficient estimatorδ̂ that allows for calculation of confidence intervals. Our study provided insight into temporal interactions among species of wild cats, particularly between small cats and their larger cat relatives. We found temporal habitat segregation in several small cats with some species being strongly nocturnal (≥85% records between 1800 and 0600 hours-leopard cat Prionailurus bengalensis), mostly (>50%) nocturnal (clouded leopard Neofelis nebulosa), mostly diurnal (>50% records between 0600 and 1800 hours-Asiatic golden cat Catopuma temminckii), or strongly (≥85%) diurnal (marbled cat Pardofelis marmorata). We found high temporal overlap (δ̂ and ge; 0.80) between leopard cat and clouded leopard (95% CI = 0.77-0.91), Asiatic golden cat and leopard (95% CI = 0.69-0.87), Asiatic golden cat and tiger (95% CI = 0.72-0.90), and clouded leopard and tiger (95% CI = 0.69-0.85). Our research demonstrates that temporal habitat or niche segregation may be an important process in maintaining the functioning of diverse predator guilds in tropical forests. We developed several avoidance or overlap hypotheses that can explain the patterns observed in our study and that should be further tested. © National University of Singapore. Source


Lynam A.J.,Wildlife Conservation Society | Lynam A.J.,IUCN SSC Tapir Specialist Group | Tantipisanuh N.,King Mongkuts University of Technology Thonburi | Chutipong W.,King Mongkuts University of Technology Thonburi | And 8 more authors.
Integrative Zoology | Year: 2012

Southeast Asia's tropical forests suffer the highest rates of deforestation and disturbance of any on Earth, with poorly understood impacts on native fauna. Asian tapirs (Tapirus indicus) are among the least studied of the large mammals in these forests. Using records from 9 camera trap surveys in 7 of the largest (>1000 km2) protected area complexes, we assessed the influence of environmental variation and human-induced disturbance on tapir occurrence. Tapirs were detected at 13% of locations sampled, significantly associated with evergreen forest (P < 0.001). A multiple logistic regression model predicted tapir presence 87% of the time. According to this model, tapir occurrence was positively influenced by annual rainfall and proximity to the forest edge. However, tapirs may not avoid edges but instead prefer wetter evergreen forest, a habitat type that tended to occur further from the forest edge at higher elevations in our particular study sites (P < 0.001). By comparison, 4 other wild ungulate species that share habitats with tapirs showed a range of differing responses. Tapirs are expected to be less sensitive to disturbance because they are not targets for hunting and trade, and are almost entirely active at night, so avoid peak traffic periods in parks. Tapir populations in Thailand may be more stable than in other parts of their global range because rates of forest loss have decreased >40% over the past 20 years. We recommend surveys to fill gaps in the understanding of the status in lesser-known protected areas, research to better understand the fine-scale environmental influences on behavior and habitats of tapirs, and other forest ungulates, and continued legal status for tapirs in the highest category of protection. © 2012 Wiley Publishing Asia Pty Ltd, ISZS and IOZ/CAS. Source


Steinmetz R.,WWF Thailand | Garshelis D.L.,Grand Rapids
Ursus | Year: 2010

Asiatic black bears (Ursus thibetanus) and sun bears (Helarctos malayanus) in Southeast Asia leave claw marks on climbed trees that provide a cumulative history of their presence and activities, but this record can be difficult to interpret without knowing the age of the marks. We conducted an experiment to estimate ages of bear claw marks by monitoring 212 fresh claw mark sets (most of which we created to mimic real claw marks) on 122 trees from 17 families in Thailand. We categorized marks as looking fresh (presence of woody grit, sharp edges), recent (absence of woody grit), or old (bark growth in the gouges), and estimated the duration of these age categories using Kaplan-Meier survival analysis. Most marks (81) remained fresh for at least 2 months, but by 3 months, 75 had transitioned to recent (median 2.6 months). By 10 months, 90 of fresh marks became old (median 7.3 months). Wood hardness had no effect on aging rates. Marks created in the rainy season and those on thin-barked trees aged slightly faster than dry season marks or marks on thick-barked trees, but these differences were slight enough that they could be disregarded in population monitoring programs based on abundance of sign. Simulation models we constructed indicated that the density of fresh (or fresh plus recent) sign would more closely correspond with the number of bears in an area than would the density of all sign or the ratio of newold sign, because old sign persists for a long (≥24 months) and variable time, so would tend to be a poor reflection of bear abundance. Fresh claw marks also can be linked to phenology and fruit production of climbed trees, so could provide information on bear feeding habits. © 2010 International Association for Bear Research and Management. Source

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