Amazonian Feline Ecology and Conservation
The primary focus of this research group is to understand the ecology of the spotted jaguar in the forests of the white-water floodplains and support conservation activities related to this species and to improve the quality of life for those who live with the great cat. Research has revealed that:
Amazonian floodplain forests can support great densities of spotted jaguar with more than 10 individuals/100 Km2. The diet of the spotted jaguar in floodplain forests is distinct from that of other environments. In the Mamirauá Sustainable Development Reserve, which exclusively protects white-water várzea forests, more than 80% of the species’ diet is composed of alligators and arboreal mammals.
The spotted jaguar, living in the floodplain forests of the Mamirauá Reserve behave differently than other great cats in the tropics. For roughly four months of the year, during the flood season, they live in the tree tops where they raise their young and feed, swimming from one to the other to forge.
Spotted jaguars, Queen of the Amazon Forest
In Amazonia, the jaguar has absolute rule as a predator at the top of the food chain, and thus plays an important regulatory role in this system. For this reason, and because of the large size of its living area, the species is key to the conservation of others in the forest.
There are jaguars in the white-water floodplains
In Amazonia’s flooded forests, known popularly as várzeas (white-water floodplains), the spotted jaguar behaviors differently – in a way not seen in other biomes: during the flood, when water spill over riverbanks covering the forest floor, all local fauna and flora species prepare themselves for the inundation. The jaguar climbs to the forest canopy, establishing a routine (including feeding, reproducing and taking care of its young). This special environmental adaptation was registered and described scientifically for the first time by a team of Mamirauá Institute feline specialists.