INSTITUTO DE DIVERSIDAD Y ECOLOGIA ANIMAL
Unidad Ejecutora - UE
Reintroducing Guanaco in the Upper Belt of Central Argentina: Using Population Viability Analysis to Evaluate Extinction Risk and Management Priorities
PUBLIC LIBRARY SCIENCE
Lugar: San Francisco; Año: 2016
Wildlife reintroduction is an increasingly used strategy to reverse anthropocene defaunation. For the purpose of ecosystem restoration, in 2007 the guanaco (Lama guanicoe) was reintroduced to the Quebrada del Condorito National Park, situated in the mountains of central Argentina. With the aim of developing management recommendations, the project included permanently monitoring the population to evaluate its dynamics and the ecological response of the individuals released into the area. Nine years later and after two releases of guanacos (113 individuals in 2007 without and 25 in 2011 with a pre-adaptation period), only 24 individuals, which conform three reproductive groups, and one group of solitary males were settled in the Park. Here I modeled a population viability analysis to evaluate extinction risk, using VORTEX software. Initial population structure, specified age distribution, mortality and reproductive rates, and mate monopolization recorded during field work were used in the model, whereas the remaining used demographic parameters, such as age of first offspring, maximum number of broods per year, mean foaling rate, and length of fecundity period, were taken from the literature. Each of the three different scenarios (without supplementation of individuals, and with a realistic and optimistic supplementation) and two possible catastrophic events (fires and food shortage) covering 100 years was repeated 1000 times. Even though the guanaco reintroduction project can be considered to have been partially successful since its start, the model predicts that the current reintroduced population could be extinct in the next few decades if no reinforcements occur, and that only a continuous supplementation can reach the probability that the population survives over the next 100 years. I conclude that, so far, the current population is at a high risk of extinction if further supplementation of individuals is discontinued.