Eduardo A. Silva
Ph.D. student, University of Florida
Research: The southern pudu (Pudu puda) in the temperate forests of Chile: Assessing threats and opportunities for the conservation of the world's smallest deer and its habitat
Species/Topic: Southern pudu (Pudu puda)
Abstract: The temperate forest of Chile is facing major threats due to widespread destruction. Several endemic species inhabit the area, among them the southern pudu (Pudu puda), "the world's smallest deer." The pudu is an almost unstudied threatened species, which is facing major problems mainly because of forest loss and dog predation. In this project the effects of forest plantations and domestic dogs on pudu populations will be assessed in a large protected area in southern Chile. Camera trapping will be used to assess pudu's use of space relative to threat distribution, and interviews of local people and scat analysis will be used to estimate predation by dogs. This study will be the first field assessment on the threats that are suspected to jeopardize pudu conservation, and will inform conservation-related decision-making in the ecoregion. These findings will have application in the area by guiding the management of dogs in the neighboring communities.