LADIO Ana Haydee
Variation of local zoological knowledge about Southern river otter and other semi-aquatic mammals in Nahuel Huapi National Park (Argentina)
Journal of Ethnobiology and Ethnomedicine
Año: 2023 vol. 19
Background The huillín (Lontra provocax, Thomas 1908) is an otter, endemic to southern Argentina and Chile. It is indanger of extinction. In the Nahuel Huapi National Park and surroundings is the only freshwater, known and stablepopulation of huillín in Argentina. In this park, several urban and rural centers coexist with this species. The mainobjective of our work was to answer: How does the local zoological knowledge (LZK) vary about the huillín, particularlyits identification and sighting, among people from different social groups, with different ages and gender, wholive in the rural or urban environment and with different periods of permanence in the place?Methods Ninety-six written interviews were conducted using visual stimuli to ensure that interviewees refer to thehuillín. In addition, we also inquire about the LZK of other species with which it can be confused. Additional openinterviews were conducted with participants who observed the huillín to determine the georeferencing of thereported sites and include them on a final map.Results 95% of people identified the huillín and this was confused with the coipo in 3% and with the americanmink, in 5%. The results show that, in general, the LZK did not vary significantly with the sociocultural characteristicsof the participants, showing a remarkable homogeneity. However, people in rural areas are more likely to observe thespecies than people in urban areas. Moreover, people between 20 and 40 years of age are more likely to observe thehuillín. The LZK mapping has identified areas that are consistent with and/or adjacent to official source records. Otherareas have also been identified that may provide new information.Conclusion With this participatory work, we realize that the species is recognized by urban and rural inhabitants andvery few confused it. The homogeneity in the LZK found constitutes a kick for the realization of other participatorystudies that promote lines of research, action and management that improve the quality of the environments wherethe only freshwater, known and stable population of the huillín in Argentina lives.