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How rare is rare? Quantifying and assessing the rarity of the bush dog Speothos venaticus across the Amazon and other biomes

  • Tadeu G. de Oliveira (a1), Fernanda Michalski (a2), André L. M. Botelho (a3), Lincoln J. Michalski (a4), Armando M. Calouro (a5) and Arnaud L. J. Desbiez (a6)...

The bush dog Speothos venaticus is a medium-sized Neotropical canid. It is considered to be rare and its biology and population parameters are still poorly understood. The Amazon is one of the main strongholds of this species and is important for maintaining viable populations, as the region still holds extensive tracts of pristine habitat. We gathered field data from camera-trap studies throughout the Brazilian Amazon to estimate the relative abundance of the species and gain an understanding of its rarity, and how this compares with estimates from other vegetative formations and for sympatric hypercarnivores. We focused on three pristine or partially disturbed sites and one fragmented site. The estimated relative abundance of the species was 0.060–0.185 individuals per 100 trap-days, confirming that the species is rare. The bush dog's abundance in the Amazon is equivalent to that in all other areas outside the Basin. The mean group size recorded was c. 2.5 individuals. There were no differences in group sizes between forests in the Amazon and in other regions of Central America; however, there were significant differences between forests and open habitats. A combination of competition/predation, habitat structure/integrity, and disease may be acting synergistically in determining the abundance and rarity of bush dogs.

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Also at: Instituto Pró-Carnívoros, Parque Edmundo Zanoni, Atibaia, São Paulo, Brazil

Also at: Laboratório de Ecologia e Conservação de Vertebrados, Universidade Federal do Amapá, Macapá, Amapá, Brazil

Also at: Instituto Federal de Educação, Ciência e Tecnologia do Acre. Campus Avançado Baixada do Sol, Rio Branco, Acre, Brazil

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