DE ANGELO Carlos Daniel
congresos y reuniones científicas
Regional Assessment of the Status of Lowland Tapirs (Tapirus terrestris) in the Upper Paraná Atlantic Forest Ecoregion
PAVIOLO, AGUSTÍN; DI BLANCO, YAMIL; VARELA, DIEGO; DE ANGELO, CARLOS; DI BITETTI, MARIO
Workshop; Third International Tapir Symposium; 2006
IUCN/SSC Tapir Specialist Group (TSG) - Fundación Temaikén - Houston Zoo Inc
The Upper Paraná Atlantic Forest (or Interior Atlantic Forest) eco-region is a subtropical rainforest distributed throughout the Misiones province of Argentina, South Brazil and East Paraguay. As a result of forest conversion and degradation it is one of the most endangered rainforests on earth, with only 7% of its original extension remaining as isolated forest fragments. The objective of this work is to assess the current distribution and population status of the lowland tapir in this eco-region. We carried out a compilation of bibliographic information accompanied by interviews with researchers, park rangers and local inhabitants regarding the presence of the species in the region. In order to evaluate the relative abundance, habitat use and activity patterns of tapirs in Misiones, we conducted surveys with camera-traps in three different areas: Urugua-í Provincial Park and Reserve (34 sampling stations, 1,409 trap-days, area surveyed=8,146 ha), Iguazú National Park (44 sampling stations, 1,631 trap-days, area surveyed=20,227 ha) and Yabotí Biosphere Reserve (23 sampling stations, 1,060 trap-days,area surveyed=37,146 ha). Each sampling station consisted of two camera-traps facing each other, located along infrequently used dirt roads or trails opened with machete. We estimated the daily activity pattern through the time printed on the photographs. In East Paraguay the species subsists in only four protected areas: San Rafael Managed Resources Reserve (58,490 ha), Bosque Mbaracayú Natural Reserve (59,056 ha), Itabó (9,885 ha) and Limoy Biological Reserve (11,866 ha), we could not confirm the presence in Morombí Private Reserve (25,000 ha) and Cerro Corá National Park (6,005 ha). In Brazil the species is present in the few remaining well-protected forest fragments larger than 3,000 ha. In Misiones, the tapir is still present in forested areas of the center and North of the province (Green Corridor), but its distribution has declined more than 30 % within the last 40 years. The mean camera-trap capture rate was five times higher in Iguazú, an area with lower hunting pressure, than in both the other areas (Kruskal-Wallis, X2= 34,1796; df=2; p<0.0001). In all the study areas, tapirs were more active during night time, and we did not find any spatial patterns related to habitat use (distance to rivers, presence of streams, canopy cover, and bamboo abundance). Our analysis of present distribution and relative abundance suggest that the abundance and presence of tapirs in a forest remnant depends on fragment size and hunting pressure. The presence of tapirs in the eco-region is limited to fragments of native forest larger than 10,000 ha (or areas near to these fragments). In smaller fragments, the presence of the species depends on hunting pressure. Other variables not examined in this work, like food availability, could affect tapir populations and require further study. The Misiones Green Corridor contains the largest tapir population of the Upper Paraná Atlantic Forest. The long-term conservation of the tapirs in this eco-region will depend on the maintenance of large native forest blocks and the implementation of the protected areas and laws that protect this species.