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Ungulate relative abundance in hunted and non-hunted sites in Calakmul Forest (Southern Mexico)

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Abstract

The relative abundance of an ungulate community in hunted and non-hunted areas was studied in Calakmul, a tropical forest in southern Mexico that includes a 723,815 ha Biosphere Reserve where no hunting is allowed and communal lands where hunting activity does take place. Tapir, white-lipped peccary (WLP), collared peccary, two species of brocket deer and white-tailed deer were the focal species. Relative abundance of ungulates was obtained by counting tracks along transects in three hunted sites and in the southern core area of the Calakmul Biosphere Reserve, a enforced part of the protected area of 350,000 ha where no hunting has been-permitted since 1989. A total of 1708 ungulates tracks were obtained along 206.1 km (n = 90 transects) divided among the four sites. Relative abundance of the species was estimated from the track encounter rate (TER) calculated as the number of tracks per species encountered per km of transect. No significant differences in brocket deer and collared peccary TER was found among hunted and non-hunted areas. TER for WLP was significant higher in the non-hunted area, while TER for white-tailed deer and tapir was significant higher in hunted sites. Hunting activity affected the ungulate species in Calakmul differently. Brocket deer, white-tailed deer and collared peccary are more resistant species toward the hunting pressure than the WLP, who needs an immediate protection plan throughout Calakmul. Hunting areas are important habitat refuges for tapir populations and they should be protected in these areas.

Resumen

La abundancia relativa de seis especies de ungulados fue obtenida a través de conteos de huellas a lo largo de transectos en tres sitios con cacería y en la parte sur de la Reserva de la Biosfera de Calakmul, una área de alrededor de 350,000 ha donde la cacería ha sido prohibida desde 1989. Tapir, pecarí de labios blancos, pecarí de collar, dos especies de venados temazates y el venado cola blanca fueron las especies estudiadas. Un total de 1708 huellas de ungulados fueron obtenidos a lo largo de 206.1 km (90 transectos) divididos en los cuatro sitios. La abundancia relativa de las especies fue estimada por medio de la tasa de encuentro de huellas (TEH) calculado como el número de huellas encontradas por km de transecto recorrido. La TEH de los venados temazates y el pecarí de collar fue similar entre las áreas con cacería y sin cacería. La TEH para el pecarí de labios blancos fue significativamente mayor en el área sin cacería, mientras que la TEH del venado cola blanca y el tapir fueron significativamente mayor en los sitios con cacería. La actividad de cacería afecta a las especies de ungulados diferente en la región de Calakmul. Los venados temazates, el venado cola blanca y el pecarí de collar están resistiendo mejor la presión de cacería que el pecarí de labios blancos quien necesita un plan inmediato de protección en toda el área. La evidencia sugiere que las áreas con cacería en este estudio son importantes para las poblaciones de tapir, y que se debe prestar atención a su protección en dichas áreas.

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Correspondence to Rafael Reyna-Hurtado.

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Reyna-Hurtado, R., Tanner, G.W. Ungulate relative abundance in hunted and non-hunted sites in Calakmul Forest (Southern Mexico). Biodivers Conserv 16, 743–756 (2007). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10531-005-6198-7

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Keywords

  • Brocket deer
  • Calakmul
  • Collared peccary
  • Hunting
  • Relative abundance
  • Tapir
  • Transects
  • Ungulate
  • White-lipped peccary
  • White-tailed deer