Abstract

The tropical dry forest is one of the most endangered ecosystems in the world, mainly due to deforestation and fragmentation. In Mexico more than half of its surface has disappeared, affecting biodiversity. The objective of this study was to compare the richness, diversity, and relative abundance of medium and large mammals in two sites with different management and conservation status, and where tropical dry forest is present. We also sought to find out which variables of habitat and human influence are related to the presence of the most common species. The study sites were in Pastorias, Actopan, Veracruz and San Juan Bautista Cuicatlan, Oaxaca, Mexico. The first site is highly transformed by anthropogenic activities, while the second is within the protected natural area of the Tehuacan-Cuicatlan Biosphere Reserve (TCBR). In Pastorias 11 camera-traps were set up from september 2015 to september 2016; while in Cuicatlan 10 camera traps were set up from october 2013 to july 2014. The sampling effort was 3526 days/trap which yielded 443 independent records for the first site, and 2690 days/trap that yielded 378 independent records for the second site. In each locality 13 species of mammals were recorded. In particular, three of these species are endangered (Tamandua mexicana, Leopardus wiedii, and Lynx rufus) and two are under threat (Herpailurus yagouaroundi and Galictis vittata). The true diversity of medium and large mammals between communities was different. According to the relative abundance index (RAI) the most abundant species are Odocoileus virginianus, Urocyon cinereoargenteus and Canis latrans. Regression analyses suggest that the variables of season, the cover of secondary vegetation and distance to the nearest human locality are related to the record of these species. Despite the anthropogenic pressure in Pastorias, tropical dry forest remnants still maintain high species richness, which is very similar to that of a site as preserved as Cuicatlan. However, the low RAIs value of several mammals may indicate that habitat quality could not maintain large population numbers. Therefore, it is necessary to develop programs to conserve this ecosystem.