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Presented in XI Mesoamerican Conservation Biology Congress Morelos, Mexico. Nov 2007
Puma Density in Talamanca: Mountain Habitats, Estimation and Conservation of Large Felids.

José Fernando González-Maya1,2,3*, Elizabeth Navarro-Arquez1, Bryan Finegan2, Jan Schipper1

1Proyecto de Conservación del Área Talamanca, ProCAT, “Cora” ProCAT-Las Alturas
Biological Station, Las Alturas, Costa Rica. jose@procat-talamanca.org
2Centro Agronómico Tropical de Investigación y Enseñanza-CATIE, Turrialba, Costa Rica.
josegon@catie.ac.cr
3The Nature Conservancy, Consultant. San José, Costa Rica.

Mountain habitats across the tropics represent threatened ecosystems that lodge important populations of a great variety of carnivores. The puma is distributed throughout the continent, but its ecology and conservation status is unknown for this type of habitats. The density of pumas (Puma concolor) using camera trapping was evaluated in the region of Talamanca, Costa Rica. Three camera arrays were settled between 2006 and 2007 covering elevations between 1500 and 2100 meters. Two arrays consisted of 10 sites (camera-trap locations) and an array of 30 sites all with two cameras by site, the minimum convex polygon of the arrays were of 3.92, 19.08 and 75.66 km2 respectively. An abundance of 7 ± 1.3 (IC: 7-14), 5 ± 2.12 (33 IC=4-13) and ± 4.4 (IC=28-46) individuals was estimated respectively using CAPTURE. The data of Mean Maximum Distance Moved (MMDM) for each sampling, and the calculation of all together were used to construct the buffer areas and to estimate the effective area of sampling. An average area of 102.1 ± 84.70 km2 was obtained for all the samplings varying from 27.6 to 267.37 km2. An average of 16.32 ± 8.84 individuals per 100 km2 was estimated varying from 4.30 to 44.01 individuals/100 km2. The methodology still presents some statistical and logistical limitations for this type of habitats. The role of this type of habitat is discussed for the conservation of great felids in Costa Rica and the region as well as the methodological influence on the estimations: potential, limitations and considerations.

Funding: Proyecto de Conservación del Área Talamanca, The Nature Conservancy, CATIE, Wildlife Conservation Society, Compañía Las Alturas.

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