The ocelot Leopardus pardalis is a mesocarnivore in neotropical forests that may thrive in forest patches where top predators are absent or rare [ 12 ]. The flagship of its programme is a condom factory opened in in Xapuri in conjunction with the federal government. We considered RD as a reference area since it is one of the largest PAs remaining in the Atlantic Forest of southeastern Brazil, with a diverse mammal community, including jaguars, mountain lions, tapirs Tapirus terrestris and giant armadillos Priodontes maximus [ 45 , 46 ]. We expect a negative relationship between ocelot abundance and domestic dogs and top predators, because these species are considered potential competitors to ocelots [ 28 , 29 ]. Together, these findings suggest that ocelots are opportunistic, ecologically plastic and may thrive in fragmented landscapes [ 22 , 23 ]. We tested whether variation in ocelot abundance could be explained by reserve size, forest cover, number of free-ranging domestic dogs and presence of top predators. In summary, our main objective is to estimate ocelot abundance and density in six Atlantic Forest reserves in southeastern Brazil, while correcting for factors that may influence detection. The factory was opened by the then environment minister Marina Silva. Further, detection may be influenced by the location of cameras.
We also assess the ability of reserve and individual ocelot variables to explain variation in ocelot abundance and detection. Our data do not support the hypothesis of mesopredator release. Finally, we expected a higher detection probability in dry seasons because ocelots may be more active in the dry season due to resource scarcity [ 41 ]. We hypothesized that detection probability would be negatively correlated with density of travel routes because we could not survey many routes with our few cameras. Read the original article. They are small or medium-sized species less than 15 kg ; may be solitary to highly social, frugivorous to strictly carnivorous, and have high phenotypic plasticity [ 10 ]. Introduction Fragmentation and habitat loss are serious threats to tropical forest biodiversity [ 1 , 2 ] and the Atlantic Forest is no exception [ 3 — 5 ]. The ocelot Leopardus pardalis is a mesocarnivore in neotropical forests that may thrive in forest patches where top predators are absent or rare [ 12 ]. Ocelots need native forests, but also might benefit from the local extirpation of larger cats such as pumas and jaguars through mesopredator release. We expected that detection probability may vary among the sexes: This article has been cited by other articles in PMC. Further, detection may be influenced by the location of cameras. The factory produces more than million condoms a year Jon Spaull The government gives the condoms away to help fight HIV Jon Spaull Xapuri, a small town in the state of Acre in the Brazilian Amazon, was the home of Chico Mendes, a rubber tapper and environmentalist who fought to protect the Amazon from loggers. We suspect that smaller home ranges and higher movement rates in smaller, more degraded areas increased detection. Camera traps are a common tool used to assess ocelot density [ 29 — 33 ], but few studies have accounted for potential variation in detection probability p. While impacts of forest loss and fragmentation are well documented for large predators [ 8 , 9 ], the effects on mesocarnivores are less clear. Received Aug 18; Accepted Oct 7. He thought the best way to prevent land clearance was to improve the rights and income of those who make a living from the forest. We expected a trap shy behavioral response in which recapture probability c of ocelots would be lower than the initial detection probability p because of the camera flash [ 35 , 36 ]. Xapuri, a small town in the state of Acre in the Brazilian Amazon, was the home of Chico Mendes, a rubber tapper and environmentalist who fought to protect the Amazon from loggers. Ocelot abundance was positively correlated with reserve size and the presence of top predators jaguar and pumas and negatively correlated with the number of dogs. Specifically we assessed the effects of the amount of habitat percent of forest cover and reserve size , impact of an invasive domestic species relative abundance of free-ranging domestic dogs and presence of top predators mountain lions and jaguars on ocelot abundance. Data collection used non-invasive, remotely activated camera traps and did not involve direct contact or interaction with animals. Rather, our findings indicate that ocelots respond negatively to habitat loss, and thrive in large protected areas inhabited by top predators. This biome scenario is inadequate for the long-term conservation of top predators such as jaguars Panthera onca and mountain lions Puma concolor [ 6 , 7 ].
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