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Data from: Human disturbance and the activity patterns and temporal overlap of tapirs and jaguars in reserves of NW Belize.

Cite this dataset

Monette, Victoria D; Kelly, Marcella J; Buchholz, Richard (2020). Data from: Human disturbance and the activity patterns and temporal overlap of tapirs and jaguars in reserves of NW Belize. [Dataset]. Dryad.


Human disturbance from tourism and other non-consumptive activities in protected areas may be stressful to wildlife. Animals may move away in space or time to avoid human interaction. For species of particular conservation concern, such as Baird’s tapirs (Tapirus bairdii) and jaguars (Panthera onca), a better understanding of how they respond to different levels and types of disturbance is needed in order to manage human visitation to parks in ways that minimize negative outcomes for wildlife. We describe the overlap of activity patterns of tapirs, jaguars, and humans at logged and unlogged sites and at places with low versus high human visitation using camera survey data from protected areas of northwest Belize, 2013-2016. Tapirs were nocturnal in all study sites, with >80 percent of all tapir detections occurring between 1900 h and 0500 h. Their activity patterns were not different in unlogged versus logged sites and did not change with increased human traffic. Jaguars were cathemeral across sites, but had more nocturnal activity at the site with the most human impact. Activity pattern overlap between tapirs and jaguars did not differ significantly between logged and unlogged sites, nor between areas with low and high human activity. Human traffic increased from 2013-2016 at most of the study locations. In conclusion, this camera trap dataset suggests that non-consumptive human disturbance does not alter the activity patterns of tapirs and jaguars in protected areas lacking hunting pressure.


These data were collected from a long-term camera-trapping study of jaguar movements and habitat occupancy in Belize.  This study was conducted at four locations in the Orange Walk District of NW Belize: Yalbac (YB), La Milpa (LM), Gallon Jug (GJ), and Hill Bank (HB).  At each location, cameras were placed in a grid formation approximately 2-3 km apart to maximize detection of individual jaguars, which have larger home ranges than tapirs.  Cameras were placed on tree trunks or stakes about 35 cm off the ground and were not baited.  Cameras remained active 24 h/d and were set to take 3 photos when triggered by motion with a 15 sec delay between trigger events.  Date and timestamp data were collected from the photo detections of tapirs, jaguars, and humans and used to analyze activity patterns of these species.

Usage notes

R scripts are titled by the kind of comparison being made: Logged vs. Unlogged.R is for activity overlap of tapirs, jaguars, and humans in logged and unlogged areas, HighLow.R is for activity overlap of the three species at camera stations of high and low frequency of human activity, and BySite.R is for activity overlap of the three species at each of the four study sites.  The two species being compared for each overlap calculation are abbreviated together as tapjag (tapir and jaguar activity), taphum (tapir and human activity), or jaghum (jaguar and human activity).


Animal Behavior Society