Identification of carnivore feces by local peoples and molecular analyses

Gerald L. Zuercher, Philip S. Gipson, George C. Stewart

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

35 Scopus citations


Two emerging research techniques offer alternatives to historically invasive and expensive carnivore studies: molecular analysis and use of traditional ecological knowledge (TEK) of indigenous and local peoples. We used a molecular analysis of the cytochrome-6 gene from fecal DNA to validate identification of mammalian carnivore feces collected by indigenous people and local people on the Reserva Natural del Bosque Mbaracayú (RNBM) in eastern Paraguay. At least 16 mammalian carnivore species, several of which are endangered, are known to occur within RNBM. We found a 100% agreement between identification determined through the molecular analysis and identifications provided by indigenous and local peoples. Our results suggest that indigenous and local knowledge may help advance scientific knowledge about natural resources. By validating TEK through molecular techniques, we show that both indigenous and local people can contribute credibly to studies of the natural resources on which they depend.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)961-970
Number of pages10
JournalWildlife Society Bulletin
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 2003


  • Canids
  • Carnivores
  • Cytochrome-b
  • Feces
  • Felids
  • Molecular analyses
  • Scat
  • Traditional ecological knowledge


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