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Home range and habitat selection of pampas deer


  • Editor: Gunther Zupanc

Alejandro R. Vila, Wildlife Conservation Society, CC 794 (8400) Bariloche, Río Negro, Argentina.


The southernmost subspecies of pampas deer Ozotocerus bezoarticus celer is an endemic and endangered cervid of the Argentine Pampas. The aim of our study was to describe the habitat use of this deer on the coast of Samborombón Bay. Twelve adult pampas deer (seven female and five male) were radiotracked and their home-range sizes and habitat selection studied from 1995 to 2001. The mean home-range size was 898±181 ha, and the core area was concentrated in 22% of their range. The home-range size of males was three times larger than that of females (1422 vs. 523 ha). Deer home ranges overlapped extensively. No sex differences were found regarding habitat selection. Celtis tala forests and Spartina densiflora grasslands were used more than expected by their availability, while wetlands, coastal grasslands and Salicornia ambigua beaches were avoided. Their habitat selection was affected by cattle presence, suggesting avoidance: they tended to use areas free of cattle, and their home ranges were larger when cattle were absent. An action plan for this endangered population of pampas deer should include initiatives involving private landowners in pampas deer conservation, the use of fire and cattle grazing management tools to improve deer habitat, and studies to provide biological and health data related to pampas deer coexistence with cattle.