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Evaluating mortality sources for the Vulnerable pudu Pudu puda in Chile: implications for the conservation of a threatened deer

  • Eduardo A. Silva-Rodríguez (a1), Claudio Verdugo (a2), O. Alejandro Aleuy (a2), James G. Sanderson (a3), Gabriel R. Ortega-Solís (a2), Felipe Osorio-Zúñiga (a4) and Daniel González-Acuña (a5)...
Abstract

We assessed the importance of potential sources of mortality for the Vulnerable southern pudu Pudu puda in southern Chile using the clinical records of wildlife rehabilitation centres, necropsies of animals found in the field and a review of the diet of potential predators. To assess whether the identified mortality sources operate in nominally protected areas, we conducted a camera-trap survey in two areas to determine the presence of pudus and their potential predators. Predation by domestic dogs Canis lupus familiaris and car collisions were the commonest causes of pudu admissions to rehabilitation centres (35 of 44) and of deaths of animals encountered opportunistically in the field (seven of 14). Field data suggest that poaching could also be an important threat to pudus. Pudus were detected in both areas surveyed, accounting for 15.6% of mammal detections. Dogs accounted for 47.8% of all detections of potential predator species, followed by pumas Puma concolor (17.4%), guignas Leopardus guigna (17.4%) and chilla foxes Lycalopex griseus (17.4%). The literature survey implicated only pumas as important pudu predators among native carnivores. Our data suggest that, aside from forest loss, dogs, road kills and probably poaching are important concerns for pudu conservation. Our frequent detections of free-ranging dogs associated with roads within nominally protected areas suggest that long-term efforts to conserve pudu will require not only the protection of remnant native forest but also substantive environmental education to modify dog management near protected areas.

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Corresponding author
Department of Wildlife Ecology and Conservation and School of Natural Resources and Environment, University of Florida, 110 Newins-Ziegler Hall, Gainesville, FL 32611-0430, USA. E-mail eduardosilva@ufl.edu
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Oryx
  • ISSN: 0030-6053
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