Dias, D. M; Massara, R. L; Campos, C. B. & Rodrigues, F. H. G. 2019.Human activities influence the occupancy probability of mammalian carnivores in the Brazilian Caatinga. The Association for Tropical Biology and Conservation.
The Caatinga is a semi-arid domain, characterized by reduced humidity and high rates of anthropogenic impact. In addition to the low availability of water, carnivorous mammals are still exposed to a number of threats related to landscape modifications. We used data from camera traps and occupancy models to investigate the habitat use by carnivores in an area of Caatinga in northeastern Brazil. We found a negative correlation between the distance from wind farms and the occupancy probability of the jaguar, and a positive correlation with the occupancy probability of the jaguarundi. Puma and jaguarundi occupied primarily sites near watercourses, whereas the occupancy of the crab-eating fox was correlated positively with the presence of poachers. The ocelot was detected more frequently at sites distant from human settlements, whereas the jaguar was detected more often in areas far from wind farms. We found a negative correlation between the distance of water and the detection of the ocelot. The detection of the crab-eating fox was influenced positively by the detection of cattle. In addition to the negative influence of some anthropic activities, our results indicate that water is a very important resource for species, and the few permanent sources of this resource available in the area must be preserved. The replication of our research in other systems, worldwide, that are experiencing similar pressures, should permit a systematic evaluation of the management and conservation strategies needed to rebuild or maintain populations, restore ecosystems, and support conservation policies in human-altered landscapes. Abstract in Portuguese is available with online material.
biodiversity, habitat use, human activities, semi-arid environment, wind farm