Large, wide-ranging carnivores face greater threats and more persistent declines than most other mammal species. An important conservation tool for these carnivores has been range-wide priority-setting exercises that have helped identify critical threats and key populations. However, such exercises often fail to identify functional movement corridors or account for genetic connectivity. We present a new model for jaguar ( Panthera onca ) conservation that uses a geographic information system (GIS) and expert input to create a dispersal cost surface and identify least-cost corridors connecting the 90 known populations across the jaguar’s range. Results indicate 78% of historic jaguar range, an area of approximately 14.9 million km 2 , still holds potential for jaguar movement and dispersal. We identified 182 potential corridors between populations, ranging from 3 to 1607 km in length; 44 of these corridors are characterized as being of immediate concern due to their limited width, and thus their high potential for being severed. Resultant maps, displaying priority populations and corridors, are used to direct field-based research and conservation efforts. Field assessment and refinement of the corridors is ongoing. This is the first attempt to create and implement such a holistic model of range-wide conservation for a large carnivore species.
Biological Conservation – Elsevier
Published: Apr 1, 2010
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