Investigating carnivore guild structure: Spatial and temporal relationships amongst threatened felids in myanmar
Kyaw PP., Macdonald DW., Penjor U., Htun S., Naing H., Burnham D., Kaszta Ż., Cushman SA.
The co‐occurrence of felid species in Southeast Asia provides an unusual opportunity to investigate guild structure and the factors controlling it. Using camera‐trap data, we quantified the space use, temporal activity, and multi‐dimensional niche overlap of the tiger, clouded leopard, Asiatic golden cat, marbled cat, and leopard cat in the Htamanthi Wildlife Sanctuary, Myanmar. We hypothesised that the spatio‐temporal behaviour of smaller cats would reflect the avoidance of the larger cats, and similar‐sized guild members would partition their niches in space or time to reduce resource competition. Our approach involved modelling single‐species occupancy, pairwise spatial overlap using Bayesian inference, activity overlap with kernel density estimation, and multivariate analyses. The felid assembly appeared to be partitioned mainly on a spatial rather than temporal dimension, and no significant evidence of mesopredator release was observed. Nonetheless, the temporal association between the three mesopredators was inversely related to the similarity in their body sizes. The largest niche differences in the use of space and time occurred between the three smallest species. This study offers new insight into carnivore guild assembly and adds substantially to knowledge of five of the least known felids of conservation concern.