Critical condition of the jaguar Panthera onca population in Corcovado National Park, Costa Rica

Roberto Salom-Pérez a1c1, Eduardo Carrillo a2, Joel C. Sáenz a2 and José M. Mora a3
a1 P.O. Box 350-2300, Curridabat, San José, Costa Rica
a2 Programa Regional en Manejo de Vida Silvestre, Universidad Nacional, P.O. Box 1350-3000 Heredia, Costa Rica
a3 Escuela de Biología, Universidad de Costa Rica, Costa Rica

Article author query
salom-pérez r   [PubMed][Google Scholar] 
carrillo e   [PubMed][Google Scholar] 
sáenz jc   [PubMed][Google Scholar] 
mora jm   [PubMed][Google Scholar] 


The jaguar Panthera onca is threatened throughout its range and categorized as Near Threatened on the IUCN Red List. To inform conservation of the jaguar population in Corcovado National Park, Costa Rica, population size was estimated using data from a 3-month camera trap study. Individuals were identified from their coat patterns. The resulting density estimate of 6.98 ± SD 2.36 individuals per 100 km2 was lower than expected. The sex ratio was 1.33 males per female, and the minimum home ranges of two males were 25.64 and 6.57 km2. Hunting pressure on jaguar and white-lipped peccaries Tayassu pecari, the jaguar's main prey in the Park, may be responsible for the low jaguar density as space does not seem to be a limiting factor. The numbers of females may have been underestimated because of sampling bias and therefore the sex ratio obtained in this and similar studies must be interpreted cautiously. Better protection of the corridor that connects the Park with other protected areas is essential to guarantee long-term survival of the jaguar in Costa Rica.

(Published Online March 5 2007)
(Received September 27 2005)
(Revised January 17 2006)
(Accepted June 7 2006)

Key Words: Abundance; camera traps; Corcovado National Park; Costa Rica; jaguar; Panthera onca.

c1 Correspondence: P.O. Box 350-2300, Curridabat, San José, Costa Rica. E-mail robersalom@yahoo.com