Giant otters (Pteronura brasiliensis) live in groups that seem to abandon their territories during the flooding season. We studied the spatial ecology of giant otter groups during dry and wet seasons in the Vermelho and Miranda rivers in the Brazilian Pantanal. We monitored visually or by radiotelemetry 10 giant otter groups monthly from June 2009 to June 2011. We estimated home-range size for all groups with the following methods: linear river length, considering the extreme locations of each group, and fixed kernel. For the radiotracked groups, we also used the k-LoCoh method. Spatial fidelity and habitat selection of giant otter groups were analyzed seasonally. On the basis of k-LoCoh (98%) method, home-range sizes during the wet season (3.6–7.9 km2) were 4 to 59 times larger than during the dry season (0.1–2.3 km2). Home-range fidelity between seasons varied among giant otter groups from 0% to 87%, and 2 radiotagged groups shifted to flooded areas during the wet seasons. Giant otter groups were selective in relation to the composition of the landscape available during the dry seasons, when the river was used more intensively than other landscape features. However, they seemed to be less selective in positioning activity ranges during the wet season. During this season, giant otters were frequently observed fishing in the areas adjacent to the river, such as flooded forest, grassland, and swamps.
Keywords: habitat selection; home range; landscape selection; Pteronura brasiliensis; site fidelity
Journal Article. 7492 words. Illustrated.
Subjects: Zoology and Animal Sciences ; Animal Behaviour and Behavioural Ecology ; Animal Ecology ; Animal Physiology ; Mammalogy