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The total population of guanacos could double current estimates

Guanacos are thought to have declined in Patagonia mainly as a result of hunting and sheep ranching. Currently accepted estimates of total population size are extrapolated from densities obtained through strip transects in local studies. Road surveys and distance sampling were used to estimate guanaco density and population size over major environmental gradients of Santa Cruz, a large region in southern Patagonia. Results doubles current estimates of guanaco population size in South America. High guanaco abundance was found in arid lands, overgrazed and unable to support profitable sheep stocks. Regional patterns in guanaco density can only be detected through large-scale surveys. Coupling these surveys with distance sampling techniques produce robust estimates of density and its variation. In arid lands degraded by sheep overgrazing, sustainable use of guanaco populations would help harmonize guanaco conservation, socio-economic progress of rural areas, and eventually the restoration of shrub-steppes. informacion[at]ebd.csic.es Travaini et al (2015) Guanaco abundance and monitoring in Southern Patagonia: distance sampling reveals substantially greater numbers than previously reported. Zool Studies 54:23 doi: 10.1186/s40555-014-0097-0


http://www.zoologicalstudies.com/orderreprints/s40555-014-0097-0
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