Fecha de Publicación: 24 Aug 2018
Pacheco Jaimes R, Cáceres-Martínez CH, Acevedo AA, Arias-Alzate A and González-Maya JF. 2018. Food habits of puma (Puma concolor) in the Andean areas of Tamá National Natural Park and its buffer zone, Colombia. THERYA. Vol. 9 (3): 201-208
Even though the puma (Puma concolor) is the second largest felid in America and is widely distributed in both the continent and in Colombia. Knowledge about its food habits in many areas of the Neotropics, especially in the highlands, is still limited. We surveyed nine localities in Tamá NNP (National Natural Park) and its buffer zone monthly from June 2012 to May 2015, between 2,067 and 3,500 masl. We surveyed three linear transects of 2 to 3 km in each locality searching for scats, which were located mainly on mountain ridges. We analyzed fecal contents and estimated the minimum number of samples needed to describe puma diet, as well as the absolute frequency of records for each prey species, their relative frequency of occurrence, and biomass consumed. Potential prey species were identified using photos from camera traps at the same localities. Fecal analysis (n= 45) suggests at least eight species of medium-sized mammals as prey. Of these, three species were the most frequent, contributing 67.87 % of the biomass consumed: Nasua nasua, Mazama rufina and Cuniculus taczanowskii. The latter is a newly reported food item for the puma. No large or domestic species were recorded as part of the species’ diet for the study area, in spite of its availability.
Considering the potential conflict with communities surrounding the protected area, by the alleged consumption of farm animals by this and other felids, it appears that the availability of wild prey in Tamá NNP is suitable for puma and apparently the species does not need to use alternative prey as livestock. Our data suggest that the minimum number of samples required to estimate the diet in our study area varies between 31 and 41, suggesting that our results (n= 45) are a good estimate of the species’ diet. This work highlights the importance of expanding the knowledge about puma foraging ecology in order to generate better conservation strategies for a species of great importance for the dynamics and stability of the Colombian Andean ecosystems.