Wang, B., Rocha, D. G., Abrahams, M. I., Antunes, A. P., Costa, H. C. M., Gonçalves, A. L. S., Spironello, W. R., de Paula, M. J., Peres, C. A., Pezzuti, J., Ramalho, E., Reis, M. L., Carvalho, E., Rohe, F., Macdonald, D. W., & Tan, C. K. W. (2019). Habitat use of the ocelot (Leopardus pardalis) in Brazilian Amazon. Ecology and Evolution, 9(9), 5049–5062.
Amazonia forest plays a major role in providing ecosystem services for human and sanctuaries for wildlife. However, ongoing deforestation and habitat fragmentation in the Brazilian Amazon has threatened both. The ocelot is an ecologically important mesopredator and a potential conservation ambassador species, yet there are no previous studies on its habitat preference and spatial patterns in this biome. From 2010 to 2017, twelve sites were surveyed, totaling 899 camera trap stations, the largest known dataset for this species. Using occupancy modeling incorporating spatial autocorrelation, we assessed habitat use for ocelot populations across the Brazilian Amazon. Our results revealed a positive sigmoidal correlation between remote-sensing derived metrics of forest cover, disjunct core area density, elevation, distance to roads, distance to settlements and habitat use, and that habitat use by ocelots was negatively associated with slope and distance to river/lake. These findings shed light on the regional scale habitat use of ocelots and indicate important species–habitat relationships, thus providing valuable information for conservation management and land-use planning.