Spatial ecology of wild cats in the Calden Forest: implications for conservation and management

Juan Ignacio Zanon Martinez

Natural environments and native species densities in South America have been greatly reduced by of human activities such as agriculture, livestock farming, hunting and poaching.  Calden Forest, Argentina, is one of the most severely affected landscapes by those activities throughout Patagonia. The reduction of native forest, legal and illegal wildlife overhunting, mostly of carnivores species, results in the removal of an unknown number of individuals each year. The lack of reliable methodologies and tools for wildlife conservation, control and regulation by government agencies compromises the viability of native carnivore populations. Economic and politic interests might surpass these species conservation needs, leading to non-sustainable decisions, based on the lack of scientific information. Polpulation status assessment of wild cat is required to promote efficient conservation measures, based on the combination of reliable tools and monitoring programs. This project estimates abundance of the wild cats through camera trapping and the combination of predictive cartography of species distribution and abundance, and monitoring programs.