Morato, R. G., Stabach, J. A., Fleming, C. H., Calabrese, J. M., De Paula, R. C., Ferraz, K. M. P. M., Kantek, D. L. Z., Miyazaki, S. S., Pereira, T. D. C., Araujo, G. R., Paviolo, A., De Angelo, C., Di Bitetti, M. S., Cruz, P., Lima, F., Cullen, L., Sana, D. A., Ramalho, E. E., Carvalho, M. M., … Leimgruber, P. (2016). Space use and movement of a neotropical top predator: The endangered jaguar. PLoS ONE, 11(12).
Accurately estimating home range and understanding movement behavior can provide important information on ecological processes. Advances in data collection and analysis have improved our ability to estimate home range and movement parameters, both of which have the potential to impact species conservation. Fitting continuous-time movement model to data and incorporating the autocorrelated kernel density estimator (AKDE), we investigated range residency of forty-four jaguars fit with GPS collars across five biomes in Brazil and Argentina. We assessed home range and movement parameters of range resident animals and compared AKDE estimates with kernel density estimates (KDE). We accounted for differential space use and movement among individuals, sex, region, and habitat quality. Thirty-three (80%) of collared jaguars were range resident. Home range estimates using AKDE were 1.02 to 4.80 times larger than KDE estimates that did not consider autocorrelation. Males exhibited larger home ranges, more directional movement paths, and a trend towards larger distances traveled per day. Jaguars with the largest home ranges occupied the Atlantic Forest, a biome with high levels of deforestation and high human population density. Our results fill a gap in the knowledge of the species’ ecology with an aim towards better conservation of this endangered/critically endangered carnivore—the top predator in the Neotropics.