Instituto de Pesquisas Ecologicas (IPE)
Location: Sao Paulo, Brazil
Research: The Leap of the Cat: Conservation of the Brazillian Ocelot in the Plateau Forests of Sao Paulo State, Brazil
Species/Topic: Brazilian Ocelot
This project aims to lay the foundation for the development of a conservation model for the Brazilian ocelot in the Pontal do Paranapanema Region, Sao Paulo State, Brazil. This region includes Morro do Diabo State Park, one of the last remnants of the severely threatened Interior Atlantic Rainforest of significant size, and surrounding forest fragments amounting to approximately 12,000 ha. Previous studies in this area show that Morrow do Diabo State Park cannot alone hold a viable population of ocelots, indicating that the future of the species in the Pontal region will depend on active management efforts, both in the protected population and at landscape levels.
Specific objectives of this project include population estimation of ocelots in key forest fragments; description of movement and dispersal patterns of ocelots through the fragmented landscape; correlation of ocelot population dynamics in the fragments with presence/absence of larger predator species and prey availability; and evaluation of the genetic and health status of these populations. By assessing the direct and indirect efforts of habitat loss and fragmentation upon the conservation of the ocelot, this project will provide: relevant information on the ecology of this species in human altered landscapes; technical recommendations for the design/management of nature reserves and metapopulation management; and support and orientation to local community initiatives in restoring degraded areas and key wildlife corridors.
This project is part of a major conservation program for the Pontal region, where governmental agrarian reform is currently taking place. This regional program is conducted by the Instituto de Pesquisas Ecologicas (IPE), whose staff also works with local communities towards the creation of forested benefit zones around forest fragments and the establishment of wildlife corridors and stepping-stones between those forest remnants, by providing training and technical assistance in diverse agro-forestry practices.