Recently published the book Conservation of the field deer of the scientific Susana Gonzalez, head of the Laboratory of Genetics, Institute for the Conservation of Biological Research Clemente Stable (IIBCE spanish).
Gonzalez has spent 20 years researching in the field of conservation genetics, with emphasis on the deer in the field. “By helping to preserve species and grassland landscape,” said the researcher, who also teaches at the Faculty of Sciences.
Pampas deer, Ozotoceros bezoarticus uruguayensis, live in the grasslands of South America at low elevations. They are also known as Venado.
Their habitat includes water and hills, often with winter drought, and grass that is high enough to cover a standing deer. Many of them live on the Pantanal wetlands, where there are ongoing conservation efforts, and other areas of annual flooding cycles.
Human activity has changed much of the original landscape. They are known to live up to 12 years in the wild, longer if captive, but are threatened due to over-hunting and habitat loss.
Many people are concerned over this loss, because a healthy deer population means a healthy grassland, and a healthy grassland is home to many species, some also threatened. Many North American birds migrate south to these areas, and if the Pampas deer habitat is lost, they are afraid these bird species will also decline.
A characteristic of endemic species, a key to ecosystem functioning of the natural countryside of Uruguay, this deer has two other conditions that add importance as local wildlife, as explained in the book.
The first is that the two populations of deer living in Uruguay area released (Arerunguá, Salto, with about 1,000 individuals, and Sierra de los Ajos, Rocha, with 300 specimens) belong to two different subspecies.
The population of Salto is called Ozotoceros Bezoarticus Arerunguaensis and the Rocha change the last word for uruguayensis. Ever since their names are details that both are endemic to the country.
Second, as detailed in the book, “unlike the other subspecies are represented in protected areas in Brazil, Paraguay and Argentina, Uruguayan populations are exclusively at private institutions where agricultural activities are developed.”
To promote biodiversity and production at the same time last year Gonzalez published a manual of good practices, funded by Whitley Fund for Nature, the British organization that gave it financial support for the book of the deer.
Gustavo Carrasquel | ANCA 24