Mexico's urban jaguars: Wildlife in modern times

Source: Latin American Science

In Mexico’s Yucatan peninsula, tourism development is closing in on the Selva Maya, the home of the great jaguar, Panthera onca, which like other species has been cornered by poaching and development. In fact, its conservation has been declared a national priority in Mexico and numerous research efforts are underway to study its movements and behavior to improve land planning decision making.

As part of one of these research projects, Alberto González-Gallina and colleagues from the Autonomous University of Tabasco monitored the movements of a male jaguar who roamed Playa del Carmen, a popular tourist destination. Tracking the animal for several months, the researchers found that the animal had a home range between 16.22 and 97.6 square kilometers and for several months did not exceed a radius of 17 square kilometers. To date, it is the smallest range reported by science for a jaguar.

A jaguar caught by a camera trap near Playa del Carmen. Credit: Alberto González Gallina.

How is it that the largest cat in the American continent, which has a home range of up to 380 square kilometers, reduced its living space by 95 percent?