Grasiela Porfirio, 1) Wildlife Research Unit, Biology Department,University of Aveiro (Campus de Santiago, 3810- 193 Aveiro, Portugal); 2) Programa de Pós-Graduação em Ciências Ambientais e Sustentabilidade Agropecuária, Universidade Católica Dom Bosco, Campo Grande MS, Brazil; e-mail:
Vania C. Foster, Ecology and Conservation Post-Graduate Program, Federal University of Mato Grosso do Sul (Cidade Universitária, Pioneiros, Cep 79070-900, Campo Grande, Brazil); e-mail:
Pedro Sarmento, Wildlife Research Unit, Biology Department, University of Aveiro (Campus de Santiago, 3810- 193 Aveiro, Portugal); e-mail:
Carlos Fonseca, Wildlife Research Unit, Biology Department, University of Aveiro (Campus de Santiago, 3810- 193 Aveiro, Portugal); e-mail:

Reference to article

Porfirio G., Foster V.C., Sarmento P., Fonseca C. 2018. Camera traps as a tool for Carnivore conservation in a mosaic of Protected Areas in the Pantanal wetlands, Brazil. Nature Conservation Research 3(2): 57–67.

Section Research articles

Although known globally for its biodiversity, only around 5% of the Brazilian Pantanal is protected. The Network for Protection and Conservation of Amolar Mountain Ridge is an informal initiative that legally protects over 2000 km2 of the Pantanal biome. Several camera-trapping surveys were carried out at Amolar Mountain Ridge from August 2011 to September 2013 in order to increase our knowledge of the species occurrence and its ecological requirements. The aims of this study were : 1) to inventory the carnivore species occurring within this network of protected areas; 2) to describe their activity patterns and 3) to discuss threats for those species' conservation in the region. We used the Kernel density method to describe the species' activity patterns. We obtained 764 records (from 12703 camera-days) of eight carnivores, including endangered species in Brazil, such as the jaguar (Panthera onca), puma (Puma concolor), and ocelot (Leopardus pardalis), that were among the most frequently recorded by camera traps. The other species detected were the South America coati (Nasua nasua), the tayra (Eira barbara), the crab-eating raccoon (Procyon cancrivorus) and the jaguarundi (Puma yagouaroundi). We provided information on activity patterns of the jaguar and puma, which exhibited cathemeral activity patterns, on the ocelot and crab-eating fox, which were mostly nocturnal, and on the Southern coati and jaguarundi, which were diurnal. Scansorial and species that occur naturally in low densities as the tayra and the crab-eating raccoon were difficult to be detected with the used camera trapping setting. However, due to the natural characteristics of the study area, camera trapping is among the most appropriate tools for providing data about carnivores and their prey. This information is essential to delineate conservation plans for Amolar Mountain Ridge.


activity patterns, camera trapping, carnivores, conservation biology, species inventory

Artice information

Received: 26.01.2018

The full text of the article

Alho C.J.R., Sabino J. 2011. A conservation agenda for the Pantanal's biodiversity. Brazilian Journal of Biology 71(1): 327–335. DOI: 10.1590/S1519-69842011000200012
Alho C.J.R., Camargo G., Fischer, E. 2011. Terrestrial and aquatic mammals of the Pantanal. Brazilian Journal of Biology 71(1): 297–310. DOI: 10.1590/S1519-69842011000200009
Asensio N., Gómez-Marín F. 2002. Interspecific interaction and predator avoidance behavior in response to tayra (Eira barbara) by mantled howler monkeys (Alouatta palliata). Primates 43(4): 339–341. DOI: 10.1007/BF02629607
Bertassoni A., Xavier-Filho N.L., Rabelo F.A., Leal S.P.S., Porfirio G.E.O., Moreira V.F., Rabelo A.P.C. 2012. Paraguay River environmental monitoring by Rede de Proteção e Conservação da Serra do Amolar, Pantanal, Brazil. Pan-American Journal of Aquatic Sciences 7(2): 77–84.
Bianchi R.C., Campos R.C., Xavier-Filho N.L., Olifiers N., Gompper M.E., Mourão G. 2014. Intraspecific, interspecific, and seasonal differences in the diet of three mid-sized carnivores in a large Neotropical wetland. Acta Theriologica 59(1): 13–23. DOI: 10.1007/s13364-013-0137-x
Bianchi R.C., Olifiers N., Gompper M.E., Mourão G. 2016. Niche partitioning among mesocarnivores in a Brazilian wetland. PLoS ONE 11(9): e0162893. DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0162893
Bowler M.T., Tobler M.W., Endress B.A., Gilmore M.P., Anderson M.J. 2017. Estimating mammalian species richness and occupancy in tropical forest canopies with arboreal camera traps. Remote Sensing in Ecology and Conservation 3(3): 146–157. DOI: 10.1002/rse2.35
Cadavid-Garcia E.A. 1984. O clima no Pantanal Mato-grossense. Brasília: Embrapa CPAP. 42 p.
Carvalho W.D., Adania C.H., Esbérard C.E.L. 2013. Comparison of two mammalian surveys made with camera traps in southeastern Brazil, focusing on the abundance of wild mammals and domestic dogs. Brazilian Journal of Biology 73(1): 29–36. DOI: 10.1590/S1519-69842013000100005
Crawshaw P.G., Quigley H.B. 1991. Jaguar spacing, activity and habitat use in a seasonally flooded environment in Brazil. Journal of Zoology 223: 357–370. DOI: 10.1111/j.1469-7998.1991.tb04770.x
Cruz J., Sarmento P., White P.C.L. 2015. Influence of exotic forest plantations on occupancy and co-occurrence patterns in a Mediterranean carnivore guild. Journal of Mammalogy 96(4): 854–865. DOI:10.1093/jmammal/gyv109
De Ângelo C., Paviolo A., Di Bitetti M. 2011. Differential impact of landscape transformation on pumas (Puma concolor) and jaguars (Panthera onca) in the Upper Paraná Atlantic Forest. Diversity and Distributions 17(3): 422–436. DOI: 10.1111/j.1472-4642.2011.00746.x
De la Torre J.A., Núñez J.M., Medellín R.A. 2017. Spatial requirements of jaguars and pumas in Southern Mexico. Mammalian Biology – Zeitschrift für Säugetierkunde 84: 52–60. DOI: 10.1016/j.mambio.2017.01.006
Di Bitetti M.S., Paviolo A., De Angelo C. 2006. Density, habitat use and activity patterns of ocelots (Leopardus pardalis) in the Atlantic Forest of Misiones, Argentina. Journal of Zoology 270(1): 153–163. DOI: 10.1111/j.1469-7998.2006.00102.x
Di Bitetti M.S., Di Blanco Y.E., Pereira J.A., Paviolo A., Pérez I.J. 2009. Time partitioning favours the coexistence of sympatric crab-eating-foxes (Cerdocyon thous) and pampas foxes (Lycalopex gymnocercus). Journal of Mammalogy 90(2): 479–490. DOI: 10.1644/08-MAMM-A-113.1
Di Bitetti M.S., De Angelo C.D., Di Blanco Y.E., Paviolo A. 2010. Niche partitioning and species coexistence in a Neotropical felid assemblage. Acta Oecologica 36(4): 403–412. DOI10.1016/j.actao.2010.04.001
Eisenberg J.F., Redford K.H. 1999. Mammals of the Neotropics – The Central Neotropics (Ecuador, Peru, Bolivia, Brazil). Chicago: University of Chicago Press. 609 p.
Emmons L.H. 1987. Comparative feeding ecology of felids in a Neotropical rainforest. Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology 20(4): 271–283. DOI: 10.1007/BF00292180
Foster V.C., Sarmento P., Sollmann R., Tôrres N., Jácomo A.T.A., Negrões N., Fonseca C., Silveira L. 2013. Jaguar and puma activity patterns and predator–prey interactions in four Brazilian biomes. Biotropica 45(3): 373–379. DOI: 10.1111/btp.12021.
Frey S., Fisher J.T., Burton A.C., Volpe J.P. 2017. Investigating animal activity patterns and temporal niche partitioning using camera-trap data: challenges and opportunities. Remote Sensing in Ecology and Conservation 3(3): 123–132. DOI: 10.1002/rse2.60
Gómez H., Wallace R.B., Ayala G., Tejada R. 2005. Dry season activity periods of some Amazonian mammals. Studies on Neotropical Fauna and Environment 40(2): 91–95. DOI: 10.1080/01650520500129638
Harmsen B.J., Foster R.J., Silver S.C., Ostro L.E.T., Doncaster C.P. 2009. Spatial and temporal interactions of sympatric jaguars (Panthera onca) and pumas (Puma concolor) in a Neotropical forest. Journal of Mammalogy 90(3): 612–620. DOI: 10.1644/08-MAMM-A-140R.1
Harmsen B.J., Foster R.J., Silver S., Ostro L., Doncaster P. 2010. Differential use of trails by forest mammals and the implications for camera trap studies: a case study from Belize. Biotropica 42(1):126–133. DOI: 10.1111/j.1744-7429.2009.00544.x
Harmsen B.J., Foster R.J., Silver S.C., Ostro L.E.T., Doncaster C.P. 2011. Jaguar and puma activity patterns in relation to their main prey. Mammalian Biology – Zeitschrift für Säugetierkunde 76(3): 320–324. DOI:10.1016/j.mambio.2010.08.007
Harris M., Tomas W.M., Mourão G., Silva C.J., Guimarães E., Somoda F., Fachim E. 2005. Desafios para proteger o Pantanal Brasileiro: ameaças e iniciativas em conservação. Megadiversidade 1(1): 156–164.
ICMBio. 2016. Brazil Red Book of threatened species of fauna. Brasília: Instituto Chico Mendes de Conservação da Biodiversidade.
IUCN. 2018. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2017-3. Available from:
Junk W.J., Cunha C.N., Wantzen K.M., Petermann P., Strussmann C., Marques M.I., Adis J. 2006. Biodiversity and its conservation in the Pantanal of Mato Grosso, Brazil. Aquatic Sciences 68(3): 278–309. DOI: 10.1007/s00027-006-0851-4
Kolowski J.M., Alonso A. 2010. Density and activity patterns of ocelots (Leopardus pardalis) in northern Peru and the impact of oil exploration. Biological Conservation 143(4): 917–925. DOI: 10.1016/j.biocon.2009.12.039
Leuchtenberger C., Zucco C.A., Ribas C., Magnusson W., Mourão G. 2014. Activity patterns of giant otters recorded by telemetry and camera traps. Ethology Ecology & Evolution 26(1): 19–28. DOI: 10.1080/03949370.2013.821673
Lima-Borges P.A., Tomas W.M. 2004. Guia de rastros e outros vestígios de mamíferos do Pantanal. Corumbá: Embrapa Pantanal. 148 p.
Lourival R., Drechsler M., Watts M.E., Game E.T., Possingham H. P. 2011. Planning for reserve adequacy in dynamic landscapes; maximizing future representation of vegetation communities under flood disturbance in the Pantanal wetland. Diversity and Distributions 17(2): 297–310. DOI: 10.1111/j.1472-4642.2010.00722.x
Loveridge A.J., Wang S.W., Frank L.G., Seidensticker J. 2010. People and wild felids: conservation of cats and management of conflicts. In: D.W. Macdonald, A.J. Loveridge (Eds.): Biology and Conservation of Wild Felids. Oxford: Oxford University Press. P. 161–195.
Lucherini M., Reppucci J.I., Walker R.S., Villalba M.L., Wurstten A., Gallardo G., Iriarte A., Villalobos R., Perovic P. 2009. Activity pattern segregation of carnivores in the high Andes. Journal of Mammalogy 90(6): 1404–1409. DOI: 10.1644/09-MAMM-A-002R.1
Lyra-Jorge M.C., Ciocheti G., Pivello V.R., Meirelles S.T. 2008. Comparing methods for sampling large and medium sized mammals: camera traps and track plots. European Journal of Wildlife Research 54: 739–744. DOI: 10.1007/s10344-008-0205-8
Mackenzie D.I., Royle J.A. 2005. Designing efficient occupancy studies: general advice and tips on allocation of survey effort. Journal of Applied Ecology 42: 1105-1114. DOI: 10.1111/j.1365-2664.2005.01098.x
Mackenzie D.I., Nichols J.D., Lachman G.B., Droege S., Royle A., Langtimm C.A. 2002. Estimating site occupancy rates when detection probabilities are less than one. Ecology 83(8): 2248–2255. DOI: 10.1890/0012-9658(2002)083[2248:ESORWD]2.0.CO;2
Mackenzie D.I., Nichols J.D., Royle J.A, Pollock K.P., Bailey L.L., Hines, J.E. 2006. Occupancy estimation and modeling: inferring patterns and dynamics of species occurrence. San Diego: Academic Press. 631 p.
Maffei L., Cuéllar E., Noss A.J. 2002. Using camera-traps to assess mammals in the Chaco-Chiquitano ecotone. Revista Boliviana Ecológica 11: 55–65.
McCarthy J.L., Wibisono H.T., McCarthy K.P., Fuller T.K., Andayani N. 2015. Assessing the distribution and habitat use of four felid species in Bukit Barisan Selatan National Park, Sumatra, Indonesia. Global Ecology and Conservation 3: 210–221. DOI: 10.1016/j.gecco.2014.11.009
MMA – Ministério do Meio Ambiente. 2006. Caderno da Região Hidrográfica do Paraguai. Ministério do Meio Ambiente, Secretaria de Recursos Hídricos. Brasília: MMA. 142 p.
MMA – Ministério do Meio Ambiente. 2007. Áreas prioritárias para a Conservação, Uso Sustentável, e Repartição de Benefícios da Biodiversidade Brasileira. Brasília: MMA. 301 p.
Monroy-Vilchis O., Rodríguez-Soto C., Zarco-González M., Urios V. 2009. Cougar and jaguar habitat use and activity patterns in central Mexico. Animal Biology 59(2): 145–157. DOI:10.1163/157075609X437673
Moreira V.F. 2011. Rede de Proteção e Conservação da Serra do Amolar: rompendo fronteiras para a conservação do Pantanal. MSc Thesis. Campo Grande: Universidade Federal de Mato Grosso do Sul. 76 p.
Núñez R., Miller B., Lindzey F. 2000. Food habits of jaguars and pumas in Jalisco, Mexico. Journal of Zoology 252(3): 373–379. DOI: 10.1111/j.1469-7998.2000.tb00632.x
O'Connell A.F., Talancy N.W., Bailey L.L., Sauer J.R., Cook R., Gilbert A.T. 2006. Estimating site occupancy and detection probability parameters for meso and large mammals in a coastal ecosystem. Journal of Wildlife Management 70(6): 1625–1633. DOI: 10.2193/0022-541X(2006)70[1625:ESOADP]2.0.CO;2
Oliveira-Santos L.G.R., Tortato M.A., Graipel M.E. 2008. Activity pattern of Atlantic Forest small arboreal mammals as revealed by camera traps. Journal of Tropical Ecology 24(5): 563–567. DOI: 10.1017/S0266467408005324
Porfirio G., Sarmento P., Xavier Filho N.L., Cruz J., Fonseca C. 2014. Medium to large size mammals of southern Serra do Amolar, Mato Grosso do Sul, Brazilian Pantanal. CheckList 10(3): 473–482. DOI: 10.15560/10.3.473
Porfirio G., Foster V.C., Fonseca C., Sarmento P. 2016a. Activity patterns of ocelots and their potential prey in the Brazilian Pantanal. Mammalian Biology – Zeitschrift für Säugetierkunde 81(5): 511–517. DOI: 10.1016/j.mambio.2016.06.006
Porfirio G., Sarmento P., Leal S., Fonseca C. 2016b. How is the jaguar Panthera onca perceived by local communities along the Paraguai River in the Brazilian Pantanal? Oryx 50(1): 163–168. DOI: 10.1017/S0030605314000349
Porfirio G., Sarmento P., Foster V., Fonseca C. 2017. Activity patterns of jaguars and pumas and their relationship to those of their potential prey in the Brazilian Pantanal. Mammalia 81(4): 401–404. DOI: 10.1515/mammalia-2015-0175
R Development Core Team. 2013. R: A Language and Environment for Statistical Computing Version 3.0.0. Available from:
Rich L.N., Russell R.E., Glenn E., Mitchell M.S., Gude J.A., Podruzny K.M., Sime C.A., Laudon K., Ausband D.E., Nichols J.D. 2013. Estimating occupancy and predicting numbers of gray wolf packs in Montana using hunter surveys. Journal of Wildlife Management 77(6): 1280–1289. DOI: 10.1002/jwmg.562
Ridout M.S., Linkie M. 2009. Estimating overlap of daily activity patterns from camera trap data. Journal of Agricultural, Biological, and Environmental Statistics 14(3): 322–337. DOI: 10.1198/jabes.2009.08038
Romero-Muñoz A., Maffei L., Cuéllar E., Noss A.J. 2010. Temporal separation between jaguar and puma in the dry forests of Southern Bolivia. Journal of Tropical Ecology 26(3): 303–311. DOI: 10.1017/S0266467410000052
Roque F.O., Ochoa-Quintero J., Ribeiro D.B., Sugai L.S., Costa-Pereira R., Lourival R., Bino G. 2016. Upland habitat loss as a threat to Pantanal wetlands. Conservation Biology 30(5): 1131–1134. DOI: 10.1111/cobi.12713
Ross J., Hearn A.J., Johnson P.J., Macdonald D.W. 2013. Activity patterns and temporal avoidance by prey in response to Sunda clouded leopard predation risk. Journal of Zoology 290(2): 96–106. DOI: 10.1111/jzo.12018
Royle J.A., Nichols J.D. 2003. Estimating abundance from repeated presence absence data or point counts. Ecology 84(3): 777–790. DOI: 10.1890/0012-9658(2003)084[0777:EAFRPA]2.0.CO;2
Royle A.J., Nichols J.D., Kéry M. 2005. Modelling occurrence and abundance of species when detection is imperfect. Oikos 110(2): 353–359. DOI: 10.1111/j.0030-1299.2005.13534.x
Sarmento P., Cruz J., Eira C., Fonseca C. 2009. Spatial colonization by feral domestic cats Felis catus of former wildcat Felis silvestris silvestris home ranges. Acta Theriologica 54(1): 31–38. DOI: 10.1007/BF03193135
Sarmento P., Cruz J., Eira C., Fonseca C. 2011. Modeling the occupancy of sympatric carnivorans in a Mediterranean ecosystem. European Journal of Wildlife Research 57(1):119–131. DOI: 10.1007/s10344-010-0405-x
Seidl A.F., Silva J.S.V., Moraes A.S. 2001. Cattle ranching and deforestation in the Brazilian Pantanal. Ecological Economics 36(3): 413–425. DOI: 10.1016/S0921-8009(00)00238-X
Sillero-Zubiri C., Hoffmann M., Macdonald D.W. 2004 Canids: foxes, wolves, jackals, and dogs: status survey and conservation action plan. Gland, Switzerland and Cambridge, UK: IUCN/SSC Canid Specialist Group. 430 p.
Silveira L., Jácomo A.T.A., Diniz-Filho A.F. 2003. Camera trap, line transect census and track surveys: a comparative evaluation. Biological Conservation 114(3): 351–355. DOI: 10.1016/S0006-3207(03)00063-6
Sollmann R., Furtado M.M., Hofer H., Jácomo A.T.A., Tôrres N.M., Silveira L. 2012. Using occupancy models to investigate space partitioning between two sympatric large predators, the jaguar and puma in central Brazil. Mammalian Biology – Zeitschrift für Säugetierkunde 77(1): 41–46. DOI: 10.1016/j.mambio.2011.06.011
Srbek-Araujo A.C., Chiarello A.G. 2005. Is camera-trapping an efficient method for surveying mammals in Neotropical forests? A case study in south-eastern Brazil. Journal of Tropical Ecology 21(1): 121–125. DOI: 10.1017/S0266467404001956
Surnato S., Sollmann R., Mohamed A., Kelly M.J. 2013. Camera trapping for the study and conservation of tropical carnivores. Raffles Bulletin of Zoology 28: 21–42.
Taber A.B., Novaro A.J., Neris N., Colman F.H. 1997. The food habits of sympatric jaguar and puma in the Paraguayan Chaco. Biotropica 29(2): 204–213. DOI: 10.1111/j.1744-7429.1997.tb00025.x
Tobler M.W., Carrillo-Percastegui S.E., Pitman R.L., Mares R., Powell G. 2008. Further notes on the analysis of mammal inventory data collected with camera traps. Animal Conservation 11(3): 187–189. DOI: 10.1111/j.1469-1795.2008.00181.x
Vieira E.M., Port D. 2007. Niche overlap and resource partitioning between two sympatric fox species in southern Brazil. Journal of Zoology 272(1): 57–63. DOI: 10.1111/j.1469-7998.2006.00237.x
Zimmermann A., Walpole M.J., Leader-Williams N. 2005. Cattle ranchers' attitudes to conflicts with jaguars in the Pantanal of Brazil. Oryx 39(4): 406–412. DOI: 10.1017/S0030605305000992