Individual Patterns and Prey Selection by Puma concolor in Monte Leon National Park, Santa Cruz, Argentina

María Emilia Perucca

I will analyze individual prey selection patterns in wild puma´s population in Monte León National Park in Argentina. To carry out this, the abundance of potential prey within each action area of the pumas previously marked with GPS collars will be estimated, as well as the use of prey and the individual differences in their habitat use. Also, the proportion of domestic and wild prey items consumed by puma will be studied to identify potential sources of potential livestock conflict. To answer these ecological questions GPS satellite telemetry and camera trap technique will be use.

This study aims to fulfil a conservation gap in order to understand possible causes of livestock conflict to develop further guidelines for decision making. The main outcome of these project will provide a great contribution to the conservation of the Patagonian coastal ecosystem because the puma has a high ecological importance in the area for being the main predator of the Patagonia, but there is not enough information about their population status in the south.

Also, studying individual patterns in diets of pumas, is important in order to understand the main prey consumption in an area that had years of anthropogenic impact. There still are active sheep ranches around Monte Leon National Park, hence makes a good place to research puma’s diet. In this way, understand individual predator behavior in the context of carnivore-livestock depredation, will contribute to develop new knowledge that could be necessary for management practices in human-wildlife conflict.

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