First insights in terrestrial mammals monitoring in the Candelaria and Machay Reserves in the Ecuadorian Tropical Andes

Juan Pablo Reyes-Puig, Carolina Reyes-Puig, Jessica Pacheco-Esquivel, Santiago Recalde, Fausto Recalde, Darwin Recalde, Jordy Salazar, Eduardo Peña, Silvia Paredes, Marina Robalino, Fernanda Flores, Vladimir Paredes, Edelina Sailema, Gorky Ríos-Alvear

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations

Abstract

Habitat disturbance leads to biodiversity decline and modifications in the landscape structure and composition, affecting both dispersal movements and ecological processes at different temporal and spatial scales. The Ecuadorian Tropical Andes harbour suitable habitats for the distribution of a wide variety of species; however, there is a lack of studies focused on mammal diversity and its association with the habitat attributes in the centraleastern slopes. Here, we reported the diversity of terrestrial mammals recorded between 2019 and 2021 in a camera-trap monitoring study in the Candelaria and Machay reserves in the upper basin of the Pastaza River, Ecuador. We performed site-occupancy probability analysis to assess the influence of spatial variables in the species’ occurrence and also, based on natural marks, we reported preliminary findings in Andean bear individual identification. We detected 22 species of terrestrial mammals. Alpha diversity was similar between reserves with slightly higher species richness in Machay. Evenness indices showed unequal species distribution, with the Andean bear and domestic dogs exhibiting greater dominance. In addition, species composition was dissimilar between reserves, where the species turnover mostly explained the beta diversity. We observed that Andean bear and puma detections increased according to the natural vegetation cover. Conversely, domestic dogs were frequently detected in cells with an increasing proportion of pastures and crops. Additionally, we identified 26 Andean bears and six individuals recaptured during our study. Our results caution about the disturbance derived from human activities since we recorded unprecedented detections of domestic dogs in wild habitats. Nonetheless, it highlights the importance of private conservation areas (e.g. Candelaria, Machay and others) for supporting the occurrence and dispersal of terrestrial mammal species between larger areas in the upper basin of the Pastaza River.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere98119
JournalBiodiversity Data Journal
Volume11
DOIs
StatePublished - 27 Feb 2023

Keywords

  • CELS
  • ecological corridors
  • landscape ecology
  • mammal diversity
  • photo identification

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