European Journal of Wildlife Research

, Volume 56, Issue 5, pp 703–715 | Cite as

Raptor habitat management and its implication on the biological control of the Hantavirus

  • Andrés Muñoz-Pedreros
  • Claudia Gil
  • José Yáñez
  • Jaime R. Rau
Original Paper


Rodents have a high impact on human activities, producing economical losses and diseases. One of these diseases is Hantavirus syndrome, whose reservoir is Oligoryzomys longicaudatus. Raptors are the natural biological controllers of rodents, being, therefore, our efficient and effective allies. Despite the existing legal dispositions for protection, 11 of the 33 species of raptors in Chile have conservation problems. We evaluated the effectiveness of nest boxes for Tyto alba, as a way to increase its population and propose a procedure for the biological control of O. longicaudatus. The study area was the National Reserve Lago Peñuelas, Valparaíso, Chile. The variation of population density before and after the installation of the nest boxes was established both for T. alba and rodents. The results show that the nest boxes installed dramatically increased the population and the total density of T. alba, and a significant reduction of the abundance of small mammals was stated. We propose a methodological diagram for the biological control of the reservoir of the Hantavirus, which we have been implementing since 2001.


Raptors Biological control Chile 



The authors are thankful to project CHI/01/G09, GEF/PPS/PNUD, executed by the Centro de Estudios Agrarios y Ambientales, to the Forest National Corporation V Region, by the logistical support in the RN Lago Peñuelas. We are also thankful to Susan Fletcher, Pamela Sánchez, Basilio Guiñez, Alexander Fontaine, Javiera Meza, Rocío Sanhueza, Nuria Serena, Aladino Erices, Josefina Rivera, and Jill Morrison for the aid in different stages of the study, from field work to logistical support.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • Andrés Muñoz-Pedreros
    • 1
  • Claudia Gil
    • 2
  • José Yáñez
    • 3
  • Jaime R. Rau
    • 4
  1. 1.Escuela de Ciencias AmbientalesUniversidad Católica de TemucoTemucoChile
  2. 2.Centro de Estudios Agrarios y AmbientalesValdiviaChile
  3. 3.Museo Nacional de Historia NaturalSantiago de ChileChile
  4. 4.Laboratorio de Ecología, Depto. de Ciencias Básicas & Programa IBAMUniversidad de Los LagosOsornoChile

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