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Tayra (eira barbara) landscape use as a function of cover types, forest protection, and the presence of puma and free-ranging dogs

Citation

Bianchi, Rita et al. (2021), Tayra (eira barbara) landscape use as a function of cover types, forest protection, and the presence of puma and free-ranging dogs, Dryad, Dataset, https://doi.org/10.5061/dryad.0cfxpnw2g

Abstract

The tayra (Eira barbara) is a common and broadly distributed Neotropical carnivore, yet is not well-studied.  While this species is apparently associated with forested habitats, it also appears tolerant of some anthropogenic disturbance. We deployed 57 unbaited camera traps (n = 4,923 trap-days) in and around a protected area (Furnas do Bom Jesus State Park, São Paulo, Brazil) to survey for tayra and two potentially interactive species: puma (Puma concolor) and free-ranging dogs (Canis familiaris). We used encounter histories generated from photographs and occupancy models to quantify tayra landscape use in the human-dominated landscape composed of the protected area that was near a city and surrounded by agricultural lands dominated by small farms. We fit co-occurrence models to understand whether puma and free-ranging dogs affected landscape use by tayra. We detected tayra at 44% of sites and found that tayra landscape use increased with the proportion of forest cover within 500m of the sampling site. Other factors predicting tayra landscape use included whether the sampling site was within the protected area, its distance to water, and slope. Dogs, which are common on the periphery of the protected area, seem to have a weak negative effect on tayra landscape use. Because of the concentration of forest within the park, this is an important protected area for the carnivore population within this human-modified landscape. Thus, environmental variables, such as forest cover, distance to water, as well as administrative protection status, are important for understanding local-scale tayra distribution.

Methods

The study area included the Furnas do Bom Jesus State Park (20°11'14" to 20°16'34"S and 47°22'13" to 47°29'17" W; hereafter, Furnas), a 2069 ha protected area within in a cerrado landscape in the municipality of Pedregulho, São Paulo State, Brazil. We used unbaited camera traps (Bushnell® Trophy Cam 6.0 Mpxl and Scoutguard ® SG 550) to survey for tayra, puma, and free-ranging dogs at 60 sampling sites between January and August 2017. We placed the camera traps at each intersection of a 1 km2 grid extending inside (n=44) and outside of Furnas (n=16) (Figure 1) totaling 4,815 ha of sampled area. Three of the camera traps failed, so our final sample of surveyed sites was 57. We affixed cameras to tree trunks approximately 30–40 cm above ground and programmed for continuous operation (24 hours/day), capturing three photographs at each triggering event with a 10 second interval between events. We deployed camera traps for 60 to 132 days at each sampling point and checked camera operation every 15–20 days. Camera trapping is a continuous form of monitoring, so we subdivided the survey period for each camera into discrete intervals representing sampling occasions. We generated encounter histories for each species at each camera with detections and non-detections dividing data into nine 12-day sampling occasions.

Funding

Fundação de Amparo à Pesquisa do Estado de São Paulo, Award: 2018/07886-8

Fundação de Amparo à Pesquisa do Estado de São Paulo, Award: 2013/18526-9

Fundação de Amparo à Pesquisa do Estado de São Paulo, Award: 2017/06060-6

Fundação de Amparo à Pesquisa do Estado de São Paulo, Award: 2017/03501-1

Fundação de Amparo à Pesquisa do Estado de São Paulo, Award: 2018/15793-0