Nargana - Guna Yala
Kaminando’s ongoing research focuses on the largest felid in the Americas, the jaguar (Panthera onca). The wide-ranging carnivore is an important part of the area’s ecology, culture and history. However, the species is considered near threatened (IUCN 2009) across most of its range and it is threatened in Panama. The decline of jaguars is attributed to anthropogenic pressures that conflict with their basic ecological needs. The biggest threat comes from deforestation, which causes habitat fragmentation that isolates jaguar populations. Prey depletion and illegal killing have also contributed to their decline.
Study Area and Goals
2021 Research Study Area
The study area currently encompasses ~600 km2, which includes The Mamoní Valley Preserve (MVP), The Guna Yala Territory and The Chagres National Park in Panama. We are examining how the nature of intervening landscape elements influence the occupation and dispersal of jaguars. Our program is determining jaguar density across different landscape systems. Additionally, we are establishing whether the study area supports ample populations of jaguar prey (i.e. white-lipped peccary, collared peccary, tapir).
Our methodology involves a detection/non-detection sampling technique using camera traps. Cameras provide photographic imagery of passing jaguars. We then analyze landscape and environmental covariates to determine jaguar distribution and movement within the study area. Camera trapping also provides data on other cat species (puma, ocelot, margay, jaguarundi) and their prey.
Camera-Traps: Kaminando jaguar research project has depployed annually -on average- 60 camera traps in 45 stations. We have acquired over 250 images of jaguars and prey species, some of which are considered threatened. Today, we monitor 15 individual jaguars including melanistics individuals.
Habitat Suitability Modeling: Systematic data acquisition allowed us to develop –for the first time in Panama– models of seasonal habitat use of jaguars and pumas. Additionally, we have determined habitat overlap of felids and their prey, and ocelot occurrence and occupancy.