NOVARO andres Jose
capítulos de libros
Culpeo (Pseudalopex culpaeus).
Canids: Foxes, wolves, jackals and dogs. Status survey and conservation action plan.
IUCN, Gland, Switzerland and Cambridge, UK
Año: 2004; p. 44 - 49
Due to their wide range in distribution, high phenetic variability and scarcity of material, the taxonomy of the South American canids has been a topic of much debate. The culpeo separated from their closest relative, the South American grey fox (P. griseus) between 250,000 and 500,000 years ago. The culpeo is the largest fox in the genus and, among South American canids, is only smaller than the maned wolf (Chrysocyon brachyurus). The culpeo is distributed along the Andes and hilly regions of South America, from Nariño Province of Colombia in the North, to Tierra del Fuego in the South. It ranges down to the Pacific shoreline in the desert of northern Chile south to about Valdivia, and then again in Magallanes. On the eastern slopes of the Andes the culpeo is found in Argentina from Jujuy Province in the North, reaching the Atlantic shoreline from Río Negro and southwards. Throughout its wide distribution the culpeo uses many habitat types ranging from rugged and mountain terrain up to the tree line, deep valleys and open deserts, scrubby pampas, sclerophyllous matorral, to broad-leaved temperate southern beech forest in the south. Main threats to culpeos have been hunting for fur and persecution to reduce predation on livestock and poultry. Habitat loss does not appear to be an important threat to this species. Predation by feral and domestic dogs may be important in some areas. Gaps in Knowledge: 1) It appears that conservation measures (e.g. hunting and trapping regulations) to protect culpeos are not effective to prevent poaching. There is a need for science-based information to aid management decisions and formulation of conservation regulations. 2) Studies on and long-term monitoring of population dynamics are needed to manage culpeos as a furbearer species. Given the wide distributional range of the species, research that encompasses the entire range of variability of the species is required. This is also true with regards to the genetic makeup of the species, especially as concerns the status of the currently recognized subspecies. 3) It is essential to develop means of making sheep-ranching activities compatible with sympatric wildlife including culpeos. Research aimed at better understanding culpeo behaviour as a sheep predator combined with sheep husbandry could help in decreasing the impact of predation. Bounty systems to kill culpeos are still in place in some Argentine Provinces to reduce predation on sheep. This control system has proven to be widely ineffective with other carnivores. Research is needed to determine whether sheep predation is carried out only by certain individuals, as is the case with coyotes (Canis latrans), in which case selective removal may be a more effective system of control 4) A study is urgently needed to determine the causes of the decline of the Tierra del Fuego population and measures to reverse it.