Saturday, 14 April 2012

First camera-trap photos of the maned wolf (Chrysocyon brachyurus) from the Chaco of Paraguay

 savanna specialist among the forests?

April 2012. The maned wolf is the largest canid species occurring in South America. Not a true wolf but more closely allied to South America's foxes, the maned wolf ranges across the open grassland regions of southern Brazil and eastern Bolivia, south through northern Argentina.
To date only a few detailed ecological studies of the maned wolf exist, and nearly all of these have occurred in Brazil, where the distribution of the species is greatest. Studies have suggested that maned wolves are a near exclusive inhabitant of tropical savannas and mixed grasslands, particularly the ‘Cerrado' ecoregion. However, new evidence indicates that at least in some areas, there is an exception to this rule.
Widespread in the Chaco
"Maned wolves occur throughout many parts of the humid Paraguayan Chaco, which is not surprising given what we know about their natural history," says Anthony J. Giordano, conservation biologist and founder of S.P.E.C.I.E.S., an NGO working to protect carnivore species around the world. "What is surprising however is that we are finding maned wolves in areas of dense, low canopy forest in the Chaco's drier transitional zones."
Giordano and his colleague Dr. Clay Nielsen, an assistant professor of forest wildlife at Southern Illinois University Carbondale, have recently initiated the first ecological study of the maned wolf in the Paraguayan Chaco. Their goal is to determine how habitat type and human-induced changes to the landscape, including land use intensity, interact to influence the local distribution and activity patterns of the species.
"We are looking to model those factors influencing the maned wolf's presence across a landscape of mixed rangeland and natural vegetation," says Dr. Nielsen. "We hope that once our study is complete, our findings can be used to develop local management strategies on private land aimed at increasing suitable habitat for the species."

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