version ISSN 0327-9383
ROJO, Verónica; ARZAMENDIA, Yanina and VILA, Bibiana L. Habitat use by vicuñas (Vicugna vicugna) in an agro-pastoral system in Suripujio, Jujuy. Mastozool. neotrop. [online]. 2012, vol.19, n.1, pp. 127-138. ISSN 0327-9383.
The vicuña is a wild camelid with a key role in the altiplano ecosystem as well as in the cosmovision of Andean communities. In Suripujio (Jujuy) the local economy is based on herding sheep and llamas, in an area shared with vicuñas, livestock and feral donkeys. The general objective of this work was to analyse the spatial and temporal change in the use of habitat by vicuñas and livestock in relation to the resource availability in the Suripujio area, Jujuy Province, Argentina. The forage offer and its seasonal variation were determined by measuring the size, its variation in space, and its cover and composition in each vegetation unit. The results showed that in the rainy season the forage offer increased, especially at the lowest vegetation level both in the vegas and the shrub steppe. The stocking rate surpassed the steppe carrying capacity, and vicuñas and livestock were spatially segregated. The vega was the preferred area for both wild vicuñas and livestock. Livestock management revealed some deficiencies which decrease the potential productivity of the ecosystem; still, there are conditions for a potential vicuña management.
Keywords : Altiplano; Carrying capacity; Conservation; South American camelids; Vicuñas.