How are wetlands and biological interactions related to carnivore distributions at high altitude?
Autores: G.A .E. Cuyckens, P.G. Perovic, L. Cristobal
We gathered and mapped the available information on carnivore habitat quality in the high Andes and Puna in the extreme north of Argentina. We investigated four carnivore species: the Andean cat (Leopardus jacobita), the Pampas cat (Leopardus colocolo), the cougar (Puma concolor) and the culpeo fox (Lycalopex culpaeus). Wetlands were most important for the culpeo fox, most likely because it uses aquatic birds as prey. The cougar was the least restricted species in this arid environment, perhaps due to its large home range. In general, environmental variables, distances to wetlands and the annual range of temperature defined species’ distributions better than did biological interactions. Only the distribution of the Andean cat, a specialized species, was influenced by biological interactions with the Pampas cat.