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Title: The nine lives of a threatened felid in a human-dominated landscape : assessing population decline drivers of the guiña (Leopardus guigna)
Author: Gálvez, Nicolás
ISNI:       0000 0004 5918 2224
Awarding Body: University of Kent
Current Institution: University of Kent
Date of Award: 2015
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The world's human population and an expanding agricultural frontier are exerting increasing pressure on the Earth's systems that sustain life resulting in unprecedented levels of biodiversity loss. Carnivores, which play a key role in ecosystem function and integrity, are also particularly threatened by habitat loss and killing by humans in response to livestock predation. At the same time carnivores, particularly felids show a paucity of studies that suggests population assessments and long-term monitoring is an urgent matter. This thesis looks the how habitat loss, fragmentation and human persecution affects predators in an agricultural landscape with particular focus on a species of conservation concern: the small felid guiña (Leopardus guigna) considered vulnerable with a declining population trend. A cost-effective survey framework was developed, which shows existence of trade-offs for researchers and managers to improve population assessments. The drivers of decline of the guiña are assessed with an extensive camera-trap data set showing that the guiña can tolerate a high degree of habitat loss in agricultural land but requires the existence of large farms and high number of forest patches. Retribution killing does not seem to be a significant extinction driver, although there is uncertainty regarding the impact on the population. However, killing behaviour by farmers is predicted by encounters suggesting that poultry management is an effective mitigation measure. Predator specific predictors of killing by farmers were observed but a commonality to all is that knowledge of legal protection does not explain killing suggesting other measures must be taken. Integrating ecological and social knowledge allows us to tease apart the relative importance of different potential extinction pressures effectively and make informed recommendations as to where future conservation efforts should be prioritised.
Supervisor: Davis, Zoe Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: GN Anthropology