versión On-line ISSN 0717-6538
POVILITIS, Anthony. CURRENT STATUS OF THE HUEMUL (HIPPOCAMELUS BISULCUS) IN CENTRAL CHILE . Gayana (Concepc.) [online]. 2002, vol.66, n.1, pp. 59-68. ISSN 0717-6538. doi: 10.4067/S0717-65382002000100008.
ABSTRACT The only surviving population of huemul in central Chile (Los Nevados de Chillán) is in a classic downward spiral to extinction. Field survey data for 1975- 2002 were used to assess size, spatial structure, and numerical trend of the population. An analysis of the population in 1997 estimated a minimum of 60 huemuls at 12 sites, and a 58% population decline over two decades. Recent surveys from 1998-2002 indicate that the huemul population has diminished further to 40 individuals at 11 sites, representing an additional population decline of 33%. Since 1987, huemul have disappeared from 5, and possibly 8, primary habitat sites. Only one site, the protected Rio Niblinto, shows a more or less stable huemul group. Threats to the huemul and its habitat, such as livestock impacts, urbanization, recreational development, free-ranging domestic dogs, and industrial activity, continue largely unabated at all but a few of the 26 primary habitat sites needed for huemul recovery. Current data clearly indicate that a broader conservation campaign is needed to save and recover the species in central Chile. Primary habitat sites and connecting corridors for the huemul must be fully protected. To achieve this goal, a strong commitment and financial investment by government and the private sector are needed. The creation of a new national park or large reserve for the huemul and biodiversity in the Nevados de Chillán, with related benefits for tourism, public education, and scientific research, could help attract the financial resources required for a successful conservation program
Palabras clave : Hippocamelus bisulcus; endangered huemul deer; threats; conservation; central Chile.