Carnivores and their prey occurring at the extremes of their ecological niches face particular constraints in terms of habitat suitability (HS). We combined the use of camera traps and Ecological Niche Factor Analysis (ENFA) to calculate HS for jaguars (Panthera onca), pumas (Puma concolor), and 4 prey species (3-banded armadillos, Tolypeutes tricinctus; 9-banded armadillos, Dasypus novemcinctus; collared peccaries, Pecari tajacu; and gray brocket deer, Mazama gouazoubira) in Serra da Capivara National Park (SCNP), located in the semiarid Caatinga biome of Brazil. We also evaluated HS in relation to water management applied in the Park since 1994. Considering the physiological limitations of the Caatinga's species, we used an “edge of niche” habitat-suitability algorithm. For all species examined, distance to waterholes was the ecogeographical variable with the greatest contribution for the ENFA. Water management implemented in SCNP helps to ensure the persistence of predators and prey species, since the combination of topographic characteristics and location of waterholes explained most of HS for the analyzed species.
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Vol. 98 • No. 2