Jaguar

Jaguar

Panthera onca

Jaguar is a widely distributed apex predator, ranging across the Americas and inhabiting a wide variety of habitats, stretching from tropical moist forest to tropical dry forest or xeric areas. Across many regions, jaguar populations have plummeted over the past few decades and are considered threatened in several countries. By tracking them we can understand how apex predators respond to a gradient of land use change, identify priority areas for conservation and design habitat corridors to reconnect disparate populations. In addition, we can better understand inter and intraspecific interactions.

Facts

Length: 1.5-2.5 m (5 to 8 ft)

Weight: 30-150 kg (65 to 330 lbs)

The species’ main threats are habitat loss and persecution. Original habitat has been reduced, with only 47% remaining. Persecution is a final result of conflict with livestock producers. Poaching for Chinese medicine is also an increasing threat to the species. Urgent conservation efforsts are needed.

Conservation Status: Brazil (Endangered), IUCN (Near threatened)

Tracking

We are tracking jaguar in the Central-Northern region of the Brazilian Pantanal, one of the world’s largest, well conserved and ecologically diverse wetland in the world. Wetlands provide innumerous ecosystem services and it is crucial to establish connected, well-funded and well-managed networks of protected areas. Considering the species ecological rule, we are using the jaguar as a key species to identify corridor and priority areas for conservation. The region is also considered extremely important for the species' long-term survival. Tracking animals across this site provides us with the information to better understand their habitat use, seasonal movement changes, dispersal and social behavior.

Jaguar migration patterns animation

Below, Dr. Ronaldo Morato is attending to an adult male jaguar, administering an impromptu field exam while fitting the animal with a GPS collar. During these infrequent opportunities to handle a jaguar, researchers collect as much information about the animal as possible and closely monitor the animals' vital signs (body temperature, respiration, and heart rate). These exams are usually conducted within 5-10 minutes. At the time of collaring, this jaguar was approximately 4 years old and in excellent body condition.

Jaguars are also extremely elusive animals and can move across large areas. Across the Pantanal where much of our work is focused, jaguar prey primarily on fish and caiman and are often observed moving close to rivers. Monitoring jaguar, however, is difficult, with GPS collars and remote camera traps (see video below) offering some of the only opportunities to monitor animals regularly.

Meet the Team

Grant Connette, Ph.D.

Research Fellow
Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute (SCBI)
Conservation Ecology Center
National Zoological Park

Daniel Kantek, Ph.D.

Researcher
Instituto Chico Mendes de Conservação da Biodiversidade
Estação Ecológica Taiamã

Peter Leimgruber, Ph.D.

Conservation Biologist
Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute (SCBI)
Conservation Ecology Center

Selma Miyazaki, M.Sc.

Researcher
Instituto Chico Mendes de Conservação da Biodiversidade
Estação Ecológica Taiamã

Ronaldo Morato, Ph.D.

Researcher
Instituto Chico Mendes de Conservação da Biodiversidade
Centro Nacional de Pesquisa e Conservação de Mamíferos Carnívoros

Rogerio de Paula, Ph.D.

Researcher
Instituto Chico Mendes de Conservação da Biodiversidade
Centro Nacional de Pesquisa e Conservação de Mamíferos Carnívoros

Thadeu Pereira, Ph.D.

Biologist
Instituto Chico Mendes de Conservação da Biodiversidade
Estação Ecológica Taiamã

Jared Stabach, Ph.D.

Ecologist, MoL Program Coordinator
Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute (SCBI)
Conservation Ecology Center
National Zoological Park

Resources

Scholarly Articles

Morato, R.G., Thompson, J.J., Paviolo, A., de La Torre, J.A., Lima, F., McBride, Jr., R.T., Paula, R.C., Cullen Jr., L., Silveira, L., Kantek, D.L.Z., Ramalho, E.E., Maranhao, L., Haberfeld, M., Sana, D.A., Medellin, R.A. Carrillo, E., Montalvo, V., Monroy-Vilchis, O., Cruz, P., Jacomo, A.T., Torres, N.M., Alves, G.B., Cassaigne, I., Thompson, R., Saenz-Bolanos, C., Cruz, J.C., Alfaro, L.D., Hagnauer, I., da Silva, X.M., Vogliotti, A., Moraes, M.F.D., Miyazaki, S.S., Pereira, T.D.C., Araujo, G.R., da Silva, L.C., Leuzinger, L. Carvalho, M.M., Rampin, L., Sartorello, L., Quigley, H., Tortato, F., Hoogesteijn, R., Crawshaw Jr., P.G., Devlin, A.L., May Jr., J.A., de Azevedo, F.C.C., Concone, H.V.B., Quiroga, V.A., Costa, S.A., Arrabal, J.P., Vanderhoeven, E., Di Blanco, Y.E., Lopes, A.M.C., Widmer, C.E., and Ribeiro, M.C. 2018. Jaguar movement database: a GPS-based movement dataset of an apex predator in the Neotropics. Ecology, 99, 1691-1691.

Morato, R.G., Connette, G.M., Stabach, J.A., De Paula, R.C., Ferraz, K.M.P.M., Kantek, D.L.Z., Miyazaki, S.S., Pereira, T.D.C., Silva, L.C., Paviolo, A., De Angelo, C., Di Bitetti, M.S., Cruz, P., Lima, F., Cullen, L., Sana, D.A., Ramalho, E.E., Carvalho, M.M., da Silva, M.X., Moraes, M.D.F., Voglioti, A., May Jr, J.A., Haberfeld, M., Rampin, L., Sartorello, L., Araujo, G.R., Wittemyer, G., Ribeiro, M.C., and Leimgruber, P. 2018. Resource selection in an apex predator and variation in response to local landscape characteristics. Biological Conservation, 228, 233-240.

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., Soares, F.H.S., Zimbres, B., Silva, M.X., Moraes, M.D.F., Vogliotti, A., May Jr., J.A., Haberfeld, M., Rampim, L., Sartorello, L., Ribeiro, M.C., and Leimgruber, P. 2016. Space use and movement of a Neotropical top predator: the endangered jaguar. Plos One, 11, p. e0168176.

Collaborators