Revista de Biología Tropical ISSN Impreso: 0034-7744 ISSN electrónico: 2215-2075

Do attacks by jaguars Panthera onca and pumas Puma concolor (Carnivora: Felidae) on livestock correlate with species richness and relative abundance of wild prey?

How to Cite

Burgas, A., Amit, R., & Lopez, B. C. (2014). Do attacks by jaguars Panthera onca and pumas Puma concolor (Carnivora: Felidae) on livestock correlate with species richness and relative abundance of wild prey?. Revista De Biología Tropical, 62(4), 1459–1467.


Attacks by big cats on livestock are one of the major causes of human-felid conflicts and, therefore, an important factor in the conservation of these species. It has been argued that a reduction in natural prey abundance promotes attacks on domestic species, but few studies have tested this statement, and some have delivered contradictory results. We investigated whether the occurrence of attacks to livestock by jaguar and puma relates to the abundance and richness of their natural prey. In the rainy season 2009, we tracked potential prey species counting signs of presence along linear transects in 14 non-attacked cattle farms (control) and in 14 attacked cattle farms in NW Costa Rica. There was a negative relationship between the occurrence of attacks and both species richness (p=0.0014) and abundance (p=0.0012) of natural prey. Our results support the establishment of actions to promote support and recovery of natural prey, in order to diminish attacks on livestock, while maintaining jaguar and puma populations.

awareness of the educational cervical cancer campaign (7.7% of the student population) and the ability to go alone to the doctor to receive medical attention (30.6% of students). Additionally, the public education system does not require cervical cancer to be included in the present curriculum. Hence, as students lack education on prevention and risk factors, the majority of prevention responsibility falls only on the universal health care system to regularly perform Papanicolaou exams to detect pre-cancerous or cancerous changes. The findings indicated the importance of including cervical cancer in the sexual education curriculum of the public education system in Costa Rica to educate the at-risk population of preventative methods, infection development, clinical manifestations and medical services in order to lower the presence of cervical cancer.



Albert Burgas 1, Ronit Amit 2* & Bernat C. Lopez3


1 Unit of Ecology, Autonomous University of Barcelona, CREAF,  Edifici C, 08193 Cerdanyola del Vallès, Catalunya, Spain;

2 Department of Wildlife Ecology and Conservation, University of Florida, 110 Newins-Ziegler Hall, PO Box 110430, Gainesville, FL 32611-0430, USA;

3 Unit of Ecology, Autonomous University of Barcelona, CREAF, Edifici C, 08193 Cerdanyola del Vallès, Catalunya, Spain;


Altrichter, M. & Almeida, R. (2002). Exploitation of white-lipped peccaries Tayassu pecari (Artiodactyla: Tayassuidae) on the Osa Peninsula, Costa Rica. Oryx, 36(2), 126-132.

Amit, R., Rojas, K., Alfaro, L. D., & Carrillo. E. (2009). Conservación de Felinos y sus Presas Dentro de Fincas Ganaderas. (Technical Report). Costa Rica: Programa Jaguar-Universidad Nacional.

Amit, R. & Fernández. G. (2012). Interacciones entre jaguar, puma y humanos en Guanacaste, Costa Rica. (Technical Report). Costa Rica: Asociación Confraternidad Guanacasteca.

Amit, R., Gordillo-Chavez, E. J., & Bone, R. (2013) Jaguar and puma attacks on livestock in Costa Rica. Human-Wildlife Interactions, 7(1),77-84.

Aranda, M. (2000). Huellas y otros rastros de los mamíferos grandes y medianos de México. México: Instituto de Ecología, A.C.

Bagchi, S. & Mishra, C. (2006). Living with large carnivores: predation on livestock by the snow leopard (Uncia uncia). Journal of Zoology, 268, 217-224.

Bates, D. & Maechler, M. (2009). lme4: Linear mixed-effects models using S4 classes. R package version 0.999375-32. Retrieved from

Cavalcanti, S. & Gese, E. (2010). Kill rates and predation patterns of jaguars (Panthera onca) in the Southern Pantanal, Brazil. Journal of Mammalogy, 91(3), 722-736.

Chinchilla, F. A. (1994). La dieta del jaguar (Panthera onca), el puma (Puma concolor), el manigordo (Felis pardalis) y dos métodos de evaluación de la abundancia relativa en el Parque Nacional Corcovado, Costa Rica. (Tesis de Maestría). Universidad Nacional, Costa Rica.

Escobedo, A. (2011). Influencia del paisaje y del tipo de manejo de fincas ganaderas sobre los ataques de grandes felinos (Panthera onca y Puma concolor) a animales domésticos en Costa Rica (Master´s thesis). Centro Agronómico Tropical de Investigación y Enseñanza, Costa Rica.

Gittleman, J. L. & Gomper, M. E. (2005). Plight of predators. The importance of carnivores for understanding patterns of biodiversity and extinction risk. In P. Barbosa & I. Castellanos (Eds.), Ecology of predator-prey interactions (pp. 370-380). Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press.

Gordillo, E. J. (2010). Depredación de ganado por jaguares y pumas en el noroeste de Costa Rica y la percepción de los finqueros hacia el problema. (Tesis de Maestría). Universidad Nacional, Costa Rica.

Holdridge, L. R. (1967). Life zone ecology. San José, Costa Rica: Tropical Science Center.

Hoogesteijn, R., Hoogesteijn, A., & Mondolfi, E. (1993). Jaguar predation and conservation: cattle mortality caused by felines on three ranches in the Venezuelan Llanos. Symposium of the Zoological Society of London, 65, 391-407.

Hoogesteijn, R. & Hoogesteijn, A. (2011). Estrategias para Mitigar la Depredación por Grandes Felinos en Fincas Ganaderas en Latinoamérica: Una Guía. Campo Grande, Brasil: Panthera.

Inskip, C. & Zimmermann, A. (2009). Human-felid conflict: a review of patterns and priorities worldwide. Oryx, 43(1), 18-34.

Johnson, A., Vongkhamheng, C., Hedemark, M., & Sai-Thongdam, T. (2006). Effects of human-carnivore conflict on tiger (Panthera tigris) and prey populations in Lao PDR. Animal Conservation, 9, 421-430.

Kissling, W. D., Fernández, N., & Paruelo, J. M. (2009). Spatial risk assessment of livestock exposure to pumas in Patagonia, Argentina. Ecography, 32, 807-017.

Lindstrom, M. J. & Bates, D. M. (1990). Nonlinear mixed effects models for repeated measures data. Biometrics, 46, 673-687.

Linnell, J. D. C., Swenson, J. E., & Andersen, R. (2001). Predators and people: conservation of large carnivores is possible at high human densities if management policy is favorable. Animal Conservation, 4, 345-349.

Macdonald, D. W. & Sillero-Zubiri, C. (2002). Large carnivores and conflict: lion conservation in context. In A. J. Loveridge, T. Lynam & D. W. Macdonald (Eds.), Lion Conservation Research. Workshop 2: Modelling Conflict (pp. 1-8). Oxford, UK: Wildlife Conservation Research Unit, Oxford University.

Meriggi, A. & Lovari, S. (1996). A review of wolf predation in Southern Europe: does the wolf prefer wild prey to livestock? Journal of Applied Ecology, 33, 1561-1571.

Michalski, F., Boulhosa, R. L., Faria, A., & Peres, C. A. (2006). Human-wildlife conflicts in a fragmented Amazonian forest landscape: determinants of large felid depredation on livestock. Animal Conservation, 9, 179-188.

Moa, P. F., Herfindal, I., Linnell, J. D. C., Overskaug, K., Kvam, T., & Andersen, R. (2006). Does the spatiotemporal distribution of livestock influence forage patch selection in Eurasian lynx? Wildlife Biology, 12, 63-70.

Mondolfi, E. & Hoogesteijn, R. (1986). Notes on the biology and status of the jaguar in Venezuela. In S. D. Miller & D. D. Everett (Eds.), Cats of the world: biology, conservation, and management (pp. 125-146). Washington, D.C.: National Wildlife Federation.

Núñez, R., Miller, B., & Lindzey, F. (2000). Food habits of jaguars and pumas in Jalisco Mexico. Journal of Zoology, 252, 373-379.

Odden, J., Herfindal, I., Linnell, J. D. C., &. Andersen, R. (2008). Vulnerability of domestic sheep to lynx depredation in relation to roe deer density. The Journal of Wildlife Management, 72(1), 276-282

Palmeira, F. B. L. (2004). Predaçao de bovinos por oncas no norte do estado de Goias (Master´s thesis). Universidade de Sao Paulo, Piracicaba, Brazil.

Palmeira, F. B. L. & Barrella, W. (2007). Conflictos causados pela predaçao de rebanhos domésticos em comunidades quilombolas na Mata Atlantica. Biota Neotropical, 7(1), 119-128.

Polisar, J., Maxit, I., Scognamillo, D., Farrell, L., Sunquist, M. E., & Eisenberg, J .F. (2003). Jaguars, pumas, their prey base, and cattle ranching: ecological interpretations of a management problem. Biological Conservation, 109, 297-310.

Programa Estado de la Nación. (2013). Capítulo IV: Armonía con la Naturaleza. Decimonoveno Informe Estado de la Nación en Desarrollo Humano Sostenible. San José, Costa Rica: Programa Estado de la Nación.

R Core Team (2009). R: A language and environment for statistical

computing. R Foundation for Statistical Computing, Vienna, Austria. Retrieved from

Rabinowitz, A. R. & Nottingham, B. G. (1986). Ecology and behavior of jaguar (Panthera onca) in Belize, Central America. Journal of Zoology, 210, 149-159.

Rabinowitz, A. & Zeller, K. A. (2010). A Range-wide model of landscape connectivity and conservation for the jaguar Panthera onca. Biological Conservation, 143, 939-945.

Redford, K. H. & Robinson, J. G. (1987). The game of choice: patterns of Indian and colonist hunting in the Neotropics. American Anthropology, 89, 650-667.

Reid, F. A. (1997). A field guide to the mammals of Central America and Southeast Mexico. New York: Oxford University Press.

Rosas-Rosas, O. C. (2006). Ecological status and conservation of jaguars in Northeastern Sonora, Mexico. (Doctoral dissertation). Las Cruces, USA: New Mexico State University.

Saberwal, V. A., Gibbs, J. P., Chellam, R., & Johnsingh, A. J. T. (1994). Lion-human conflict in the Gir Forest, India. Conservation Biology, 8, 501-507.

Shaw, H. G. (1977). Impact of mountain lion on mule deer and cattle in Northwestern Arizona. In R. L. Phillips & C. Jonkel (Eds.), Proceedings of the 1975 predator symposium, June 16-19, 1975, (pp. 17-32). Missoula, USA: University of Montana.

Stahl, P., Vandel, J. M., Herrenschmidt, V., & Migot, P. (2001). Predation on livestock by an expanding reintroduced lynx population: long term trend and spatial variability. Journal of Applied Ecology, 38, 674-687.

Stahl, P., Vandel, J. M., Ruette, S., Coat, L., Coat Y., & Balestra, L. (2002). Factors affecting lynx predation on sheep in the French Jura. Journal of Applied Ecology, 39, 204-216.

Sutherland, W. J. (1996). Ecological Census Techniques. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.

Taber, A. B., Novaro, A. J., Neris, N., & Colman, F. H. (1997). The food habits of sym-patric jaguar and puma in the Paraguayan Chaco. Biotropica, 29, 204-213.

Tavares de Almeida, R. (2003). Ecología y conservación de felinos silvestres en el área de influencia del Parque Nacional Corcovado, Costa Rica. (Master´s thesis). Universidad Nacional, Costa Rica.

Terborgh, J., Estes, P., Paquet, K., Ralls, D., Boyd-Heger, B., Miller B. J., & Noss, R. (1999). The role of top carnivores in regulating terrestrial ecosistems. In M. E. Soulé & J. Terborgh (Eds.), Continental conservation: Scientific foundations of regional reserve networks (pp. 39-64). Covelo, USA: Island Press.

Tilman, D., Fargione, J., Wolff, B., D’Antonio, C., Dobson, A., Howarth, R., & Swackhamer, D. (2001). Forecasting agriculturally driven global environmental change. Science, 292, 281-284.

Treves, A. & Karanth, K. U. (2003). Human-carnivore conflict and perspectives on carnivores management worldwide. Journal of Conservation Biology, 17(6), 1491-1499.

Treves, A. & Naughton-Treves, L. (2005). Evaluating lethal control in the management of human- wildlife conflict. In R. Woodroffe, S. Thirgood, & A. Rabinowitz (Eds.), People and Wildlife: Conflict or coexistence? (pp. 86-106). Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.

Weaver, J. L., Paquet, P. C., & Ruggiero, L. F. (1996). Resilience and conservation of large carnivores in the Rocky Mountains. Conservation Biology, 10, 964-976.

Weber, W. & Rabinowitz, A. (1996). A global perspective on large carnivore conservation. Conservation Society, 10(4), 1046-1054.

Woodroffe, R. (2001). Strategies for carnivore conservation: Lessons from contemporary extinctions. In J. L. Gittleman, S. M. Funk, D. Macdonald, & R. K. Wayne (Eds.), Carnivore Conservation (pp. 61-92). Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.



Download data is not yet available.