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Mastozoología neotropical

versión impresa ISSN 0327-9383versión On-line ISSN 1666-0536


REY, Andrés; CARMANCHAHI, Pablo D.; PUIG, Silvia  y  GUICHON, M. Laura. Density, social structure, activity and management of wild guanacos (Lama guanicoe) in southern Neuquén Province, Argentina. Mastozool. neotrop. [online]. 2009, vol.16, n.2, pp.389-401. ISSN 0327-9383.

Guanacos (Lama guanicoe) are the most abundant and widespread wild South American ungulate though both their abundance and range distribution have drastically decreased in the last century. In Patagonia, live-shearing of wild guanacos is being promoted by wildlife agencies as a complementary activity for sheep farmers that may help to conserve populations of guanacos. The lack of ecological studies of guanaco populations inhabiting private ranches hinders the evaluation of possible negative effects of live-shearing. Our objective was to estimate the density, social structure and activities on a free-ranging guanaco population within a livestock ranch and to assess the effect of a shearing event. We estimated population density and social structure, inside and outside of an area being managed and analysed individual behaviour, before and after shearing, between winter 2004 and summer 2005. Density was similar in both seasons and male group size decreased in spring. Family groups were the most frequent social structure. Foraging was the most common activity in both seasons. Resting activity in summer was positively associated with temperature. Our results on the effects of management are limited because capture success was low and few guanacos were sheared; however, our results suggest that live-shearing did not modify the social structure of the managed population in the short-term. The continuity of these studies is essential for a long-term evaluation of sustainability of this activity and its potential value as a conservation tool for the species.

Palabras clave : Abundance; Camelids; Conservation; Management; Patagonia.

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