Adult Podocnemis unifilis were monitored using VHF radio tracking from September 2013 to September 2014 in the Rio Trombetas Biological Reserve, Pará, Brazil. Our aim was to analyze the use of space by this species near the nesting beach base by describing size and overlap of estimated home ranges. Transmitters were attached to 10 males and 10 females. The mean home range size calculated through the fixed-kernel (FK) method with 95% of the fixes was 79.28 ± 77.08 ha (0.56–215.07 ha; n = 13). The mean of overlapping areas was 14% with FK95% (0.02%–81%; n = 13) and 5% with FK50% (0.1%–23%; n = 9). There was a significant difference in the mean overlapping areas between females and males. The analysis of the overlap of activity centers estimated by FK50% is extremely important for the establishment of conservation strategies in the management plan for this species in the reserve. We were able to identify 2 critical areas for the maintenance of this population where there was a frequent overlap of activity centers: the first, identified during the dry season, was composed of small overlaps among 7 turtles and was near the nesting areas on the clay banks within the Lago Jacaré; the second, identified during the rainy season, was composed of a concentration of overlap areas of larger size among 6 turtles and was an open area in the flooded forest. It is important not only to protect the nesting areas during the dry season but also to protect flooded forest areas with the major intensity of use along with the canals that link the flooded forests to the lakes in the rainy season. For conservation purposes, it is necessary to continue the protection of the nesting beaches throughout the savannas inside the lake where the species nests in the dry season. The flooded forest areas that are zones of intense use during the rainy season, and the canals where the turtles can move between lakes must be protected throughout the year.
Chelonian Conservation and Biology
Vol. 18 • No. 1
Vol. 18 • No. 1