• A diversity of biogeographies in an extreme Amazonian wetland habitat

      Householder, Ethan; Janovec, John; Tobler, Mathias W.; Wittmann, Florian; Myster, Randall W. (John Wiley & Sons, Ltd, 2017)
      Amazonian wetlands are associated with lower species diversity relative to surrounding terra firme forests, as well as compositional turnover along strong hydro-edaphic gradients. Because species differ in their ecophysiological response to soil waterlogging, hydrological regime is likely a major determinant of the local diversity, species distribution and assemblage of plant communities in wetland habitats....
    • Assessment of mammal reproduction for hunting sustainability through community-based sampling of species in the wild

      Mayor, Pedro; El Bizri Hani; Bodmer Richard E.; Bowler, Mark (2017)
      ...researchers face severe difficulties in obtaining reproductive data in the wild, so these assessments often rely on classic reproductive rates calculated mostly from studies of captive animals conducted 30 years ago. The result is a flaw in almost 50% of studies, which hampers management decision making....
    • Data on spatio-temporal patterns of wild fruit harvest from the economically important palm Mauritia flexuosa in the Peruvian Amazon

      Endress, Bryan A.; Gilmore, Michael P.; Vargas Paredes, Victor H.; Horn, Christa M. (2018)
      These data are the foundation of the analyses and results published in the article “Spatio-temporal patterns of Mauritia flexuosa fruit extraction in the Peruvian Amazon: Implications for conservation and sustainability” (Horn et al., 2018) [1]. Here we include data on the volume of M. flexuosa fruit arriving in the city of Iquitos, Peru from the surrounding region. This includes the amount of fruit (in sacks and kg), the date of entry into Iquitos, the point of embarkation (watershed and coordinates), the method of transportation and the point of entry into Iquitos. Data is provided in a number of formats, including data tables, Google Earth KML files and summary tables by watershed and/or month.
    • Effects of selective logging on large mammal populations in a remote indigenous territory in the northern Peruvian Amazon

      Mayor, Pedro; Pérez-Peña, Pedro; Bowler, Mark; Puertas, Pablo; Kirkland, Maire; Bodmer, Richard (2015)
      We examined the effects of selective timber logging carried out by local indigenous people in remote areas within indigenous territories on the mammal populations of the Yavari-Mirin River basin on the Peru-Brazil border. Recent findings show that habitat change in the study area is minimal, and any effect of logging activities on large mammal populations is highly likely to be the result of hunting associated with logging operations. We used hunting registers to estimate the monthly and yearly biomass extracted during timber operations and to calculate the catch per unit effort (CPUE) in subsistence hunting in the community of Esperanza 2 to 5 years before logging activities started and 4 to 7 years after logging began. We also used line transects and the distance method to estimate animal densities before and after logging. We found that 1389 hunted animals and 27,459 kg of mammal biomass were extracted per year from logging concessions. CPUE for ungulates declined; however, it increased for other mammal orders, such as rodents and primates, indicating a shift to alternative prey items. Although collared peccaries (Pecari tajacu) and tapirs (Tapirus terrestris) may also have declined in numbers, this shift may have been caused by a possibly natural population crash in white-lipped peccaries (Tayassu pecari) that coincided with the logging periods. We found no evidence that populations of primates were reduced by the logging activities. Because primates are sensitive to hunting, and their populations were of principal concern as logging commenced, this indicates that these forests remain of high conservation value. The unusual socioeconomic situation of these remote territories may mean that they are compatible with wildlife conservation in the Yavari-Mirin basin.
    • Estimating mammalian species richness and occupancy in tropical forest canopies with arboreal camera traps

      Bowler, Mark; Tobler, Mathias W.; Endress, Bryan A.; Gilmore, Michael P.; Anderson, Matthew J. (2017)
      Large and medium-bodied rainforest canopy mammals are typically surveyed using line transects, but these are labour intensive and usually ignore nocturnal species. Camera traps have become the preferred tool for assessing terrestrial mammal communities, but have rarely been used for arboreal species. Here, we compare the efficiency of arboreal camera trapping with line transects for inventorying medium and large-sized arboreal mammals, and assess the viability of using camera traps in trees to model habitat occupancy. We installed 42 camera traps, spaced 2 km apart, in the canopy of the Maijuna-Kichwa Regional Conservation Area, Peru and walked 2014 km of diurnal line transects on 22 trails at the same site. We compared the efficiency of each method using species accumulation curves. We applied a multi-species occupancy model, while examining the effect of camera height on detection probabilities, including the distance from a village and from a river as covariates to examine variability in habitat occupancy. In 3147 camera days, 18 species of arboreal medium and large-sized mammals were detected by cameras, while 11 species were recorded on line transects. Ten of these species were detected by both methods. Diurnal species were detected more quickly and with less effort using arboreal camera trapping than using diurnal line transects at the same site, although some species were more easily detected during line transects. Habitat occupancy was positively correlated with distance from the village for two species, and negatively correlated with distance from the river for one. Detection probabilities increased modestly with camera height. Practical limitations of arboreal camera trapping include the requirement for specialized climbing techniques, as well as increased potential for false triggers, requiring extended processing time. Arboreal camera trapping is an efficient method for inventorying arboreal mammals and a viable option for studying their distribution relative to environmental or anthropogenic variables when abundance or density estimates are not required.
    • Jaguar persecution without “cowflict”: Insights from protected territories in the Bolivian Amazon

      Knox, Jillian; Negrões, Nuno; Marchini, Silvio; Barboza, Kathrin; Guanacoma, Gladys; Balhau, Patricia; Tobler, Mathias W.; Glikman, Jenny A. (2019)
      Persecution by humans is one of the most pressing threats to jaguars (Panthera onca) throughout the Americas, yet few studies have examined the killing of jaguars outside cattle-ranching communities. Although over one-third of the jaguar’s range is formally protected, relatively little is known about human-jaguar relationships within protected areas and indigenous territories. Protected land within the Bolivian Amazon, considered a stronghold for the jaguar, contains communities who differ economically, legally, and socially from previously-studied human populations living with jaguars. Using in-person structured interviews, we investigated attitudes and norms related to jaguars and jaguar killing, self-reported past killing of jaguars, and demographic variables in two protected areas and an indigenous territory: Integrated Management Area of Santa Rosa del Abuná (Santa Rosa, n=224), Indigenous Territory Tacana II (n=137), and Manuripi National Amazon Wildlife Reserve (MNAWR, n=169). Overall, people disliked (48.9%) or felt neutral (26.8%) toward jaguars. A relatively large number of people reported either being attacked or knowing someone who had been attacked by a jaguar: 15.45% in Santa Rosa, 14.20% in MNAWR, and 30.88% in Tacana II. Many respondents stated to have killed a jaguar, although the proportion differed among study areas: 20.39% of Santa Rosa, 55.47% of Tacana II, and 32.72% of MNAWR. People perceived jaguar persecution as relatively common: 44.9% of Santa Rosa, 90.8% of Tacana II, and 65.8% of MNAWR said their neighbors kill jaguars (i.e. descriptive norm). Also, 75.4% of Santa Rosa, 89.1% of Tacana II, and 69.1% of MNAWR said that some of their family members and neighbors thought jaguar killing was good (i.e. subjective norm). Descriptive and subjective norms positively influenced both attitudes toward killing and past killing of jaguars. This perception of jaguar killing being common and socially-accepted, combined with high rates of past killing and a growing illegal trade of jaguar parts, may create an atmosphere conducive to widespread jaguar persecution in the Bolivian Amazon. We recommend management strategies that focus on preventing jaguar depredation of small domestic animals, lessening the perception of carnivore encounters as dangerous to decrease safety-related fears, and making large carnivore killing socially unacceptable (e.g. through social marketing).
    • Montane bias in lowland Amazonian peatlands: Plant assembly on heterogeneous landscapes and potential significance to palynological inference

      Householder, J. E.; Wittmann, F.; Tobler, Mathias W.; Janovec, J. P. (2015)
      Past temperature changes in tropical mountain regions are commonly inferred from vertical elevational shifts of montane indicator taxa in the palynological record.…To the extent that fossilization provides a better record of past vegetation that occurred proximate to the site of deposition, we suggest that habitat tracking of montane elements may introduce a cool bias in lowland paleo-temperature reconstructions based on pollen proxies.
    • Morphology of the oxyurid nematodes Trypanoxyuris (T.) cacajao n. sp. and T. (T.) ucayalii n. sp. from the red uakari monkey Cacajao calvus ucayalii in the Peruvian Amazon

      Conga, D. F.; Giese, E. G.; Serra-Freire, N. M.; Bowler, Mark; Mayor, P. (2016)
      Cacajao calvus ucayalii (Thomas, 1928) (Primates: Pitheciidae), a subspecies endemic to the Peruvian Amazon, occurs in patchy and sometimes isolated populations in north-eastern Peru and is in a vulnerable situation, mainly due to habitat loss and hunting. This rareness and remote distribution means that, until now, parasitical studies have been limited. Based on optical and scanning electron microscopy of specimens of both sexes, we report two new species of Trypanoxyuris pinworms occurring in the large intestine of the Peruvian red uakari, namely Trypanoxyuris (Trypanoxyuris) cacajao and Trypanoxyuris (Trypanoxyuris) ucayalii. ...
    • Prevalence of Trypanosoma cruzi and other trypanosomatids in frequently-hunted wild mammals from the Peruvian Amazon

      Morales, E. Angelo; Mayor, Pedro; Bowler, Mark; Aysanoa, Esar; Pérez-Velez, Erika S.; Pérez, Jocelyn; Ventocilla, Julio A.; Baldeviano, G. Christian; Lescano, Andrés G. (2017)
      To better understand the ecology of Trypanosoma cruzi in the northeastern Peruvian Amazon, we evaluated the prevalence of T. cruzi and other trypanosomatids in four orders of wild mammals hunted and consumed by inhabitants of three remote indigenous communities in the Peruvian Amazon. Of 300 wild mammals sampled, 115 (38.3%) were infected with trypanosomatids and 15 (5.0%) with T. cruzi....
    • Refining reproductive parameters for modelling sustainability and extinction in hunted primate populations in the Amazon

      Bowler, Mark; Anderson, Matthew J.; Montes, Daniel; Pérez, Pedro; Mayor, Pedro; Fenton, Brock; Fenton, Brock (2014)
      Primates are frequently hunted in Amazonia. Assessing the sustainability of hunting is essential to conservation planning. The most-used sustainability model, the ‘Production Model’, and more recent spatial models, rely on basic reproductive parameters for accuracy. These parameters are often crudely estimated. To date, parameters used for the Amazon’s most-hunted primate, the woolly monkey (Lagothrix spp.), come from captive populations in the 1960s, when captive births were rare. Furthermore, woolly monkeys have since been split into five species. We provide reproductive parameters calculated by examining the reproductive organs of female Poeppig’s woolly monkeys (Lagothrix poeppigii), collected by hunters as part of their normal subsistence activity. Production was 0.48–0.54 young per female per year, and an interbirth interval of 22.3 to 25.2 months, similar to parameters from captive populations. However, breeding was seasonal, which imposes limits on the maximum reproductive rate attainable. We recommend the use of spatial models over the Production Model, since they are less sensitive to error in estimated reproductive rates. Further refinements to reproductive parameters are needed for most primate taxa. Methods like ours verify the suitability of captive reproductive rates for sustainability analysis and population modelling for populations under differing conditions of hunting pressure and seasonality. Without such research, population modelling is based largely on guesswork.
    • The ethnoprimatology of the Maijuna of the Peruvian Amazon and implications for primate conservation

      Mere Roncal, Carla; Bowler, Mark; Gilmore, Michael P. (2018)
      Background: In Amazonia, primates are not only an important food source but they also hold significant cultural and symbolic value for many indigenous groups. We document the relationship between primates and community members of the Maijuna indigenous community of Sucusari in the Peruvian Amazon and describe how ethnoprimatological studies provide a better understanding of the significance of primates in people's lives. Additionally, we explore how ethnoprimatological studies can help inform and enhance primate conservation initiatives.; Methods: Semi-structured interviews were conducted with 50 residents of the community of Sucusari to assess the classification, cultural significance and traditional uses, beliefs, ceremonies and stories of primates within the Sucusari River basin.; Results: Primates play an important role in the lives of individuals in the Sucusari community. They are distinguished by their arboreal lifestyle, and among the 11 species reported in the area, seven (Lagothrix lagotricha, Alouatta seniculus, Pithecia monachus, Callicebus spp., Saimiri sciureus, Leontocebus nigricollis) are highly recognized and culturally salient. Primates are used as food, medicine, pets, domestic tools and in the production of handicrafts. They are primarily hunted for local consumption, with larger primates such as L. lagotricha being preferred. Lagothrix lagotricha was also the most commonly reported pet species and the only observed pet primate in the community during surveys. Maijuna traditional beliefs include ancestral dietary taboos for A. seniculus, which are referred to as sorcerer monkeys, but this taboo is no longer fully adhered to. Maijuna traditional stories associated with primates describe the origin of primates found in Sucusari.; Conclusion: Primates are embedded in the intricate sociocultural system of the community of Sucusari. Better understanding the relationship between primates and people can help to focus conservation efforts on primate species of particularly high sociocultural importance as well as ecological value, such as L. lagotricha. We highly recommend the inclusion of ethnoprimatological studies into primate conservation initiatives to accomplish more effective conservation planning, ultimately integrating the goals of biodiversity conservation with the cultural and economic needs of indigenous and local communities.;
    • The Giant Otter: Giants of the Amazon

      Groenendijk, Jessica (White OwlBarnsley, UK, 2019)
      The aptly named giant otter is exceptionally well adapted to life in rivers, lakes and wetlands in tropical South America. Known in Spanish as lobo del rio or 'river wolf', it can be as long as a human is tall, and is the most social of the world's thirteen otter species. Each individual is identifiable from birth by its pale throat pattern, as unique as your fingerprint. Giant otters are top carnivores of the Amazon rainforest and have little to fear… except man.There are many reasons why scientists and tourists alike are fascinated by this charismatic species. Spend a day in the life of a close-knit giant otter family and you’ll realise why. Learn about their diet and hunting techniques, marking and denning behaviour, and breeding and cub-rearing strategies, including shared care of the youngest members. Become familiar with the complex life histories of individual otters over their 15-year lifespans. And accompany a young disperser during the trials and tribulations of a year spent looking for a mate and a home of its own.Although giant otters have few natural enemies, they became the target of the international pelt trade in the 1940s, and by the early 1970s had been hunted to the brink of extinction. Today, illegal hunting is a minor hazard. So why is the giant otter still endangered? Find out about current threats to the species and discover how a variety of conservation actions are benefiting the otters over the last decades. Then be a part of the solution by acting on the steps we can all take to help further giant otter conservation.