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11 July 2023 Pampas fox spatial and temporal variation in Argentinean agroecosystems
Antonella Gorosábel, María Paula Barral, Lucía Bernad, Sebastián Darío Muñoz, Jaime Bernardos, Julieta Pedrana
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Abstract

Context. Agricultural activities have reduced wildlife natural habitats and increased the spatial overlap between animals’ distribution and human activities. However, carnivores with a broad diet and flexible habitat requirements can tolerate human-induced environmental changes. Thus, identifying changes in their densities and spatial distribution are important factors to take into consideration when working towards minimising human–carnivore conflict.

Aims. Our aim was to identify the main environmental and human variables influencing Pampas fox density and to produce density maps in the reproductive and non-reproductive seasons.

Methods. We performed spotlight counts at night, following the line transect method in the non-reproductive and reproductive seasons during two consecutive years. We also obtained landscape, human-impact and environmental spatial variables using remote sensing data and Geographic Information Systems. We modelled and mapped the Pampas fox’s spatial density using Density Surface Models.

Key results. We found that disturbance by human activities and landscape configuration influenced the spatial variation of the Pampas fox density across time and space. We registered a positive association between the number of foxes and the proximity to urban areas and paved roads, and we also found higher densities near grasslands areas and less modified habitats varying with the season and year. A higher density of foxes was observed in the non-reproductive season compared with the reproductive season.

Conclusions and Implications This study provides insight on the variation in Pampas fox densities across agroecosystems. It highlights the relevance of more naturalised and protected habitats to sustain the Pampas fox population in highly fragmented landscapes, but also shows a positive association with disturbed areas. The spatial information developed in this study is useful to identify areas where ecosystem services could be encouraged, helping to maintain the ecosystems’ equilibrium and biodiversity conservation, and develop new management programs creating human–wildlife coexistence.

Antonella Gorosábel, María Paula Barral, Lucía Bernad, Sebastián Darío Muñoz, Jaime Bernardos, and Julieta Pedrana "Pampas fox spatial and temporal variation in Argentinean agroecosystems," Wildlife Research 51(1), (11 July 2023). https://doi.org/10.1071/WR23004
Received: 22 August 2022; Accepted: 17 May 2023; Published: 11 July 2023
KEYWORDS
Agroecosystems
Argentina
carnivores
Density Surface Models
human–carnivore conflict
pampas fox
Pampas region
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