Conservation, Research and Education Opportunities International

The importance of natural grasslands and social perception for the conservation of wild guanacos on public and private lands: An exercise in participatory research

A. Bay Gavuzzo

In grazing areas, guanacos are seen as competitors with livestock for forage. Many factors can affect the presence and habitat use of guanacos in Northern Patagonia: some pressures are environmental (e.g., forage supply, water) and others are human (e.g., hunting, disturbance, fencing). The goal of this project is to develop a participatory research model with rural elementary schools from communities that have historical and current contact with the guanaco to study the influence of these factors on guanaco population movements. We will place tracking devices (GPS) with remote retrieval of information (VHF) that will gather position, altitude, travel speed, course, temperature and cloud cover data every 15 minutes. The quality of this information allows us to generate robust predictive models and mapping. By involving communities in direct contact with the populations of guanacos (Zaina Yegua, Sanico, Cerro Alto) we expect to foster a change in the valuation of the species and in turn obtain quality information on key guanaco habitats. The products of the proposal shall be submitted to the relevant enforcement authorities as a basis for conservation decisions both of natural grasslands and wildlife. ($9,800)