Date of Award

12-2009

Degree Name

Master of Science

Department

Forestry

First Advisor

Carver, Andrew

Second Advisor

Nielsen, Clayton

Abstract

Little research has been conducted in the Republic of Panama concerning mammalian predator and prey populations. New Technologies such as remote camera-traps, allow researcher to efficiently monitor elusive wildlife species within dense tropical vegetation. The general goal of this study was to establish concrete evidence of the felid population in EcoParque Panama-a newly designated protected area adjacent to Panama City. The specific objective of the study was to estimate the relative abundance of predators and prey species in order to determine the feasibility of releasing more felids into the area that were to be removed from the Panama Canal Expansion Zone. Camera-traps were purposefully located in likely felid habitat and data were collected for approximately 5 months. Photographs were analyzed according to species and location captured, and abundances were established. Using SPSS and Statistix statistical software, tests for association between likely habitat for felids and time activity periods for prey species were conducted. EcoParque was found to have a robust prey population with relatively few predators. Felid predators present include the ocelot (Leopardus pardalis) and jaguarundi (Felis yaguarondi). Results suggest that felid carrying capacity has not been reached and additional individuals could be released into the area. This preliminary study lays the ground work for further research in EcoParque as well as the rest of Panama concerning predator and prey species relationships.

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