International Society For Endangered Cats

A Voice For The Wild Cats of the World

News From The Field: Ocelots As Prey Items of Jaguars

Wild cats can’t be saved without knowing what they need to survive in their natural habitat. What kind of habitat do they use? What are their activity patterns & social organizations? Without data collected by field biologists, conservation programs can’t be put in place. To further our educational efforts, we are posting regular Monday summaries of a paper written by wild cat field biologists, which briefly outlines their findings.

The diet of jaguars Panthera onca includes several prey items, but they have been shown to prefer large ungulates and other species such as sloths and iguanas, depending on the area and season. Ocelots Leopardus pardalis, and in general Leopardus sp., have rarely been reported as jaguar prey in the literature, and have never been listed as the main, or one of the main items. A total of 15 jaguar scats were collected at Finca Las Alturas de Coton in Talamanca, Costa Rica. Four prey items were identified, and collared peccary was the primary prey item, followed by ocelots. A higher than expected level of overlap was found between activity patterns of jaguars and ocelots in the study area. During follow-up surveys no ocelots were found in the jaguar’s diet. Based on these findings, we suspect that during the rainy season ocelots represent an important prey item for jaguars in mountain ecosystems of Central America.

Jose F Gonzalez-Maya, Elizabeth Navarro-Arquez, Jan Shipper

IUCN/SSC Cat Specialist Group Cat News newsletter

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