Distribution and hotspots of the feeding areas of jaguars on sea turtles at a national park in Costa Rica

Sergio Escobar-Lasso, Margarita Gil-Fernández, Joel Sáenz, Eduardo Carrillo-Jiménez, Grace Wong, Luis G. Fonseca, Diego A. Gómez-Hoyos

Abstract


A poorly described aspect of the trophic relation between sea turtles and jaguars is the distribution and hotspots of the feeding areas of jaguars on the nesting beaches. It is very important to identify the areas where sea turtles are predated because we could concentrate conservation and management efforts in these areas. Therefore, the aim of this work is to describe the spatial distribution and hotspots of the feeding areas of jaguars at Nancite beach, Santa Rosa National Park, Costa Rica. We recorded a total of 76 predated carapaces of sea turtles, of these, 54 (71%) were of Lepidochelys olivacea and 22 (29%) of Chelonia mydas. Two major feeding hotspots areas were identified within the Nancite beach. Both hotspots are located at the extremes of the beach, one is at the southern edge and the other is at the northern extreme. Human activity and the distribution of nesting turtles influence synergistically to determine the sites where the sea turtles are predated at Nancite beach. Based on the information of predation hotspots, the environmental authorities should regulate the monitoring activities within those areas to avoid interfering with the trophic relation between sea turtles and jaguars.

Keywords: hunting area, jaguar predation, nesting beach, predatory behavior, human-wildlife interactions.


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