Location: Southern eastern Andes of Peru
Research: Conservation of Mazama chunyi and Cervidae status in Peruvian yungas
Species/Topic: Mazama chunyi and other deer species in the area
The Peruvian yungas (eastern Andean montane forests) is one of the most diverse and endangered regions around the world and is considered a research and conservation priority. Current and past deforestation threatens the region and the species within it. Among the species located in the region are the restricted-range Peruvian dwarf brocket deer Mazama chunyi. This species is distributed in the southern sector of the Peruvian Yungas and the northern sector of the Bolivian Yungas. This project proposes to research the effect of deforestation on M. chunyi and other deer species, determine patterns of habitat use, create a database for M. chunyi in Peru, and design management plans for the deer species in the area. Methods will include systematic evaluations in conjunction with local knowledge. Results will determine the IUCN threat category, assist three master plans for protected areas, and help decision-making processes in the area.
Project Update: June 2007
The first part of the survey was carried out in May 2007 and covered four selected areas. In summary, 11 new localities for the species were found, based on 33 evidences. Including photographic evidences and sightings provided by Daniel Blanco (from Peru Verde), the number of localities increaded to 18. The altitude range for the species found in this trip was 1550 to 3490m. In at least six of the localities the Peruvian dwarf brocket seems to be common, four of them in large unbroken forest, and two in very small forest patches. Localities where the dwarf brocket seems rare, or just occasional, might be related to the difficulties to define tracks in the littered ground, and the crepuscular habits of the species. Human population is very sparse in some of the areas and is focused on agricultural crops, not worrying about an inconspicuous deer, which explains why it seems so rare. However, there are many temporal immigrants along the Lucumayo River, as the road workers have moved with their families while the construction continues. The construction trucks and the temporal immigrants' dogs are related to recent documented deaths of the Peruvian dwarf deer. Hopefully, this will be only a temporary situation. The second part of the survey is planned for September 2007