NOVARO andres Jose
Ecological extinction of native prey of a carnivore assemblage in Argentine Patagonia
ANDRÉS J. NOVARO; MARTÍN C. FUNES; R. SUSAN WALKER
ELSEVIER SCI LTD
Año: 2000 vol. 92 p. 25 - 33
The Patagonia region of South America has been severely modi®ed by the introduction of livestock and wild exotic species. We studied diets of culpeo foxes (Pseudalopex culpaeus), chilla foxes (P. griseus), hog-nosed skunks (Conepatus chinga), Georoy's cats (Oncifelis georoyi), and pumas (Puma concolor) between 1989 and 1994, and evaluated prey biomass on rangelands in NeuqueÂn, Argentina. The carnivores consumed primarily (and selected) introduced hares (Lepus europaeus), red deer (Cervus elaphus), or carrion of introduced species. Native species represented 6% of the potential-prey biomass, and similar percentages of carnivore diets. We conclude that native large-bodied species (guanacos, Lama guanicoe, and rheas, Pterocnemia pennata) are ecologically extinct as prey and sources of carrion in our study area, and likely throughout Argentine Patagonia. Other ecological implications of their currently low biomass are unknown. Measures to control introduced species, prevent new introductions, and create pro- tected areas are urgently needed.