Conservation, Research and Education Opportunities International

Ecology of the puma in El Espinal: Analysis of the effects of habitat fragmentation and mitigation of conflicts with ranching

M. de las Mercedes Guerisoli

The advance of human activities is the primary cause of natural habitat destruction and fragmentation, which represent the largest threat to wildlife, in particular mammalian carnivores such as the puma. This alteration of the environment can cause contraction of the spatial distribution of animals, with local extinctions and a consequent decline of global populations. This process is currently happening in the Espinal Ecoregion, within which natural habitats have been strongly degraded by the expansion of agricultural-ranching activities, leading to human-felid conflicts that arise when pumas prey on livestock and humans respond to this threat by hunting them. The project proposes to study the puma in the Espinal relative to anthropogenic factors, and to understand their effect on puma populations. Obtaining this information will provide the current status of puma in the region to propose measures for conflict resolution and, more generally, a management and conservation plan for pumas. Finally, all of the information gathered will be used in outreach activities for local communities. ($7,990)