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Ecología austral

versão On-line ISSN 1667-782X


LLANOS, Romina; TRAVAINI, Alejandro; MONTANELLI, Silvana  e  CRESPO, Enrique. Estructura de edades de pumas (Puma concolor) cazados bajo el sistema de remoción por recompensas en Patagonia. ¿Selectividad u oportunismo en la captura?. Ecol. austral [online]. 2014, vol.24, n.3, pp.311-319. ISSN 1667-782X.

Age structure of cougars (Puma concolor) hunted under the bounty system in Patagonia. Selective or opportunistic capture?: The lethal control of carnivores in order to protect livestock is a common practice worldwide, but its effectiveness has been poorly evaluated and is still unclear. Pumas (Puma concolor) are considered by ranchers one of the main sheep predators in Patagonia, and their hunting is encouraged by the by the provincial estates through a state bounty system. This management measure does not include the examination and monitoring of the removed individuals. Our objective was to determine the age and sex structure of cougars hunted through the state bounty system in Chubut and Santa Cruz. We examined 411 skulls collected in both provinces. The age of each specimen was estimated by their tooth-wear pattern, established on the basis of skulls of known age. Sex was specified by hunters or obtained through a discriminant analysis based on four cranial measurements taken from specimens of known sex. The greatest proportion of individuals in both provinces corresponds to class I or sub -adults (between 16 months and two years of age) (43.6% in Chubut and 46.5% in Santa Cruz), followed by cubs (up to 16 months old) and the successive age-classes. The bias towards younger age classes could be related to their relative abundance in the population together with their vulnerability to harvest. The state bounty system does not provide real benefits to livestock ranchers. Effort and resources for the management of cougars should be used to develop alternative strategies that address the issues discussed here and that benefit both the productive sector and the conservation of the species.

Palavras-chave : Predator management; Sheep farming; State bounty system; Age distribution.

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