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Food habits of the Cougar Puma concolor (Carnivora: Felidae) in the Central Andes of the Colombian Coffee Region

Castillo, Diana Camila Muñoz; Arbeláez, Pauline Perry; Arias-Monsalve, Héctor Fabio; Ramírez-Chaves, Héctor E..
Artigo em Inglês | VETINDEX-Express | ID: vti-745990

Resumo

Abstract The feeding habits of the cougar have been scarcely studied in Colombia, despite its importance in the ecosystems it inhabits. In this study, we analysed the diet of the cougar using 53 feces samples collected from several sites in the Central Andes of Colombias Coffee Growing Region. To identify prey species, we examined and compared bone fragments and hairs found in each sample with descriptions published in relevant literature and with specimens from the Natural History Museum of the Universidad de Caldas, Colombia. We found that rabbits (Sylvilagus sp.) provided half of the relative biomass consumed by the cougar (50%). Other preys identified belong to representatives of medium and large mammals such as marsupials (Didelphis: 10%), sloths (Choloepus: 9%), rodents (Coendou: 10%, Cuniculus: 9%), and deer (Mazama: 9%). Of the preys, Coendou rufescens has not, to our knowledge, been previously included in cougar diet literature. The curve of accumulation of species indicated that the number of samples obtained in this work fully describe the diet of this feline. Neither domestic species were recorded in this work, nor were there any relationships between the dry or rainy seasons and the consumption of prey species. The comparison of the information reported in this study and others carried out in the Andes may indicate the general nature of this felines diet and its adaptability to the prey species found in each area, since these vary in each one of them. It is probable that the obtained trophic niche value (0.33) is due to the abundance of rabbits present in the study area. It is also probable that the cougar has not consumed domestic species since, although it is close to cattle ranches, it has enough of wild prey in the area to supply its needs. The results of this study may help to improve our understanding of the feeding habits of this predator and its interaction with other species in this important region of Colombia. This will, in turn, promote major comprehension of the role of cougars in the Colombian Cordilleras and lead actions for their conservation.
Biblioteca responsável: BR68.1