Ecosystems in the northern Andes face unprecedented habitat loss. Pumas are the top predators in the region and exert key ecological functions, such as population control and resource facilitation. However, little is known about the temporal niche of the species or its effects on behaviour of prey in the tropics. We hypothesized that there is a link between the activity patterns of pumas and their prey in a cloud forest of the Central Andes of Colombia. We installed 61 camera traps to estimate the degree of overlap between the daily activity curves of pumas and seven potential prey species, using conditional kernel density functions. Pumas, armadillos, mountain pacas, and white–eared opossums were mainly nocturnal, with little crepuscular activity and high temporal overlap. Central American agouti, mountain coati, little red brocket deer, and Cauca guan displayed a predominantly diurnal activity and temporal partitioning with pumas. As opportunistic predators, pumas were able to maximize foraging efficiency by preying on the crepuscular and nocturnal species. Conservation of this highland predator will largely depend on the suitable management of its native prey.
Activity, Behaviour, Colombia, Conservation, Northern Andes, Top predator
Reception date: 6 II 21 | Acceptation date: 16 VII 21 | Publication date: 28 VII 21
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