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Acta zoológica mexicana

On-line version ISSN 2448-8445Print version ISSN 0065-1737


GARCIA BREA, Arantxa et al. Evaluation of the interest of southern Patagonian ranchers toward selective and efficient predator control methods. Acta Zool. Mex [online]. 2010, vol.26, n.2, pp.303-321. ISSN 2448-8445.

Sheep ranchers (n = 90) were surveyed to evaluate their interest in the incorporation of predator selective control methods. We based our survey on the characterization of the sheep ranching system of Santa Cruz province and its relationship with culpeo fox (Lycalopex culpaeus) predation. For a large percentage of producers (73%), the carrying capacity at present is under the optimal, which is consistent with the fact that sheep ranching represents only a part of their income. Lamb losses due to culpeo foxes predation vary between 5% and 50% of the annual lamb production, and these percentages did not vary during the last years in spite of the perceiving, by 53% of ranchers, of an increment in foxes abundance. Ranchers tend to exaggerate real losses of their lambs due to predation, although they recognize that there are other causes that could facilitate it. Nevertheless, fox control, including poisoning as a method, is still a current practice even in those ranches without sheep. The 90% of the sheep ranchers showed a good willingness to replace their current practices by selective and efficient control methods. This is an important point to encourage the use of selective control methods, like toxic baits delivered in a selective way, which would allow the abandonment of the traditional practices so dangerous to biodiversity conservation.

Keywords : control; culpeo fox; Lycalopex culpaeus; Patagonia; predation; survey.

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