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Spatial patterns of the margay (Leopardus wiedii; Felidae, Carnivora) at “El Cielo” Biosphere Reserve, Tamaulipas, Mexico
- Corresponding author
- Instituto Tecnológico de Ciudad Victoria, Blvd. Emilio Portes Gil 1301 Ciudad Victoria Tamaulipas, 87010, Mexico
- Present address: Feline Research Center, Caesar Kleberg Wildlife Research Institute, Texas A&M University-Kingsville, 700 University Blvd., MSC 218, Kingsville, TX 78363-8202, USA.
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The margay (Leopardus wiedii) is classified as an endangered species in Mexico, and it is listed in Appendix I under CITES. Spatial ecology studies of margays are depauperate, with three previous studies consisting only of single radio-tracked individuals. The northeastern distributional limit for the margay is the “El Cielo” Biosphere Reserve (RBEC) in Tamaulipas, Mexico. From 2002–2004 and in 2008, we conducted an in situ project to evaluate the status and spatial ecology of the margay population at the RBEC. We used 20 Tomahawk live traps to capture nine margays (six males and three females). Margays were sedated with tiletamine-zolazepam at a mean dosage of 5 mg/kg, and fitted with VHF radio-collars. Mean home range size (95% minimum convex polygon) and core area (50% minimum convex polygon) for four males were 4.1 km2 and 1.0 km2, respectively. Data were insufficient to calculate female home ranges. Mean home range overlap between male margays was 29.5% (range: 4.8–55.6%). The quality of habitat of the RBEC and the absence of the usually sympatric ocelot (Leopardus pardalis) may explain the apparently high margay abundance observed in the study area. The RBEC supports the northeastern-most margay population in the Western Hemisphere and therefore has important conservation value in Mexico.
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