European Journal of Wildlife Research

, Volume 50, Issue 4, pp 161–167 | Cite as

Estimating brocket deer (Mazama gouazoubira and M. americana) abundance by dung pellet counts and other indices in seasonal Chiquitano forest habitats of Santa Cruz, Bolivia

  • Kathia Rivero
  • Damiàn I. Rumiz
  • Andrew B. Taber
Original Paper


We assessed dung and track counts for indexing brocket deer abundance in seasonal habitats on a ranch where hunting is not practiced in the Bolivian lowlands. Surveys were replicated along four 10-km trails (totaling 180 km in the wet season and 90 km in the dry season) through four semideciduous forest habitats. Dung pellets and tracks were identified as belonging to Mazama gouazoubira or M. americana by size and shape. Pellet groups lasted more than 1 month during the dry season, but decayed within 1–2 weeks in the wet season. Mean density estimates based on dung counts varied widely between seasons for gray brockets (from 6.77±4.0 to 30.57±23.5 ind/km2; mean±SD) but not for reds (from 3.52±4.6 to 6.98±7.2 ind/km2). These values were probably too high due to underestimation of daily deposition rate, and were reduced during the wet season because of dung decay. We found consistently more dung in the dry season and more tracks in the wet season. Sightings of red brockets were too few for line-transect analysis (n=6), but those of gray brockets (n=42) produced an overall estimate of 5.6 ind/km2 (95% CI=3.5–9.0 ind/km2). Different estimates indicated that gray brockets were more abundant than reds in all situations, except perhaps in the riverine forest. Environmental factors affected these indices of abundance differently, and while we recommend the use of dung counts in dry-season scenarios, we think that index reliability should be assessed locally before conducting population comparisons.


Mazama Brocket deer Dung pellets Abundance indices Density 



We thank Ronald Larsen, the owner of the ranch, and Negro Mejía, don Adolfo and doña Dirma Pizarro for their invaluable support in the field. Fellow biologists Alfredo Fuentes, Jose Luis Santivañez, Erika Cuéllar, and Leo Maffei also made this study possible with their help and companionship at La Pascana. We are grateful to E. Cuéllar for allowing us to use her track-plot data and to Humberto Gomez for helping with the distance analysis. Louise Emmons, Rob Wallace, Andy Noss, Luis Pacheco, and two anonymous reviewers provided useful comments on the manuscript. The study was funded by the Wildlife Conservation Society through an agreement with the Museo Noel Kempff Mercado, UAGRM. The Santa Cruz Zoo kindly gave us access to their captive deer. This research complies with the current laws of Bolivia.


  1. Ayala J, Noss A (1999) Censos por transectas en el chaco boliviano: limitaciones biológicas y sociales de la metodología. In: Estudios de investigación y manejo de fauna enel Izozog y Parque Nacional Kaa Iya. CABI-WCS, Santa Cruz, pp 72–85Google Scholar
  2. Barnes RFW, Barnes KL (1992) Estimating decay rates of elephant dung piles in forest. Afr J Ecol 30:316–321Google Scholar
  3. Bodmer RE (1997) Ecologia e conservacao dos veados mateiro e catingueiro na Amazonia. In: Duarte JM (ed) Biologia e conservaçao de Cervideos Sul Americanos: Blastoceros, Ozotoceros e Mazama. FUNEP, Jaboticabal, pp 70–77Google Scholar
  4. Buckland ST, Anderson DR, Burnham KP, Laake JL (1993) Distance sampling: estimating abundance of biological populations. Chapman Hall, LondonGoogle Scholar
  5. Conroy MJ (1996) Abundance indices. In: Wilson DE, Cole FR, Nichols JD, Rudran R, Foster M (eds) Measuring and monitoring biological diversity: standard methods for mammals. Smithsonian Institution Press, Washington, pp 179–192Google Scholar
  6. Cuellar E (1997) Evaluación de una comunidad de mamíferos medianos y grandes en una zona de bosque semideciduo Chiquitano empleado como método principal el estudio y clasificación de huellas. Licenciatura Thesis, UAGRM, Santa CruzGoogle Scholar
  7. Emmons LH, Feer F (1997) Neotropical rainforest mammals: a field guide, 2nd edn. University of Chicago Press, ChicagoGoogle Scholar
  8. Fuentes A, Navarro G (2000) Estudio fitosociológico de la vegetación de una zona de contacto Chaco-Cerrado en Santa Cruz (Bolivia). Lazaroa 21:73–109Google Scholar
  9. Guinart D (1997) Los mamíferos del bosque semideciduo neotropical de Lomerío (Bolivia): interacción indígena. PhD Thesis, Universidad de Barcelona, BarcelonaGoogle Scholar
  10. Hill K, Padwe J (2000) Sustainability of Aché hunting in the Mbaracayu Reserve, Paraguay. In: Robinson JR, Bennett EL (eds) Hunting for sustainability in tropical forests. Columbia University Press, New York, pp 79–105Google Scholar
  11. Hurtado-Gonzales JL, Bodmer RE (2004) Assessing the sustainability of brocket deer hunting in the Tamshiyacu-Tahuayo Communal Reserve, northeastern Peru. Biol Conserv 116:1–7CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Maffei L, Taber AB (2003) Area de accion de Mazama americana (Cervidae) en un bosque seco de Bolivia. Ecol Bolivia 38:179–180Google Scholar
  13. Noss AJ, Cuéllar E, Cuéllar RS (2003) Hunter self-monitoring as a basis for biological research: data from the Bolivian Chaco. J Neotrop Mamm 10:49–67Google Scholar
  14. Ojasti J (1993) Utilización de la fauna silvestre en América Latina: situación y perspectivas para un manejo sostenible. Guía FAO Conserv 25:1–248Google Scholar
  15. Peres CA (2000) Evaluating the impact and sustainability of subsistence hunting at multiple Amazonian forest sites. In: Robinson JG, Bennett EL (eds) Hunting for sustainability in tropical forests. Columbia University Press, New York, pp 31–56Google Scholar
  16. Pinder L, Leeuwenberg F (1997) Veado catingueiro (Mazama gouazoubira, Fisher 1814). In: Duarte JM (ed) Biologia e conservaçao de Cervideos Sul Americanos: Blastoceros, Ozotoceros e Mazama. FUNEP, Jaboticabal, pp 60–68Google Scholar
  17. Rabinowitz A (1993) Wildlife field research and conservation training manual. Wildlife Conservation Society, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  18. Rivero K (1997) Densidad poblacional y uso de hábitat de Mazama gouazoubira y Mazama americana en la estancia San Miguelito, provincia Ñuflo de Chavez, Santa Cruz, Bolivia. Licenciatura Thesis, UAGRM, Santa CruzGoogle Scholar
  19. Rivero K, Rumiz DI, Taber AB (2005) Differential habitat use by two sympatric brocket deer species (Mazama americana and M. gouazoubira) in a seasonal Chiquitano forest of Bolivia. Mammalia (in press) Google Scholar
  20. Rumiz DI, Guinart S, Solar L, Herrera JC (2001) Logging and hunting in community forests and logging concessions: two contrasting case studies in Bolivia. In: Fimbel RA, Grajal A, Robinson JG (eds) The cutting edge, conserving wildlife in logged tropical forests. Columbia Unversity Press, New York, pp 333–358Google Scholar
  21. Schaller G (1983) Mammals and their biomass on a Brazilian ranch. Arqui Zool 31:1–36Google Scholar
  22. SYSTAT (1997) Systat 7.0 for Windows: statistics. SPSS, ChicagoGoogle Scholar
  23. Townsend W (1996) Nyao ito: caza y pesca de los siriono. Instituto de Ecologia, UMSA Fund-Eco, La PazGoogle Scholar
  24. Walker RS, Novaro AJ, Nichols JD (2000) Consideraciones para la estimación de abundancia de poblaciones de mamíferos. J Neotrop Mamm 7:73–80Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2004

Authors and Affiliations

  • Kathia Rivero
    • 1
  • Damiàn I. Rumiz
    • 1
    • 2
  • Andrew B. Taber
    • 2
  1. 1.Museo de Historia Natural Noel Kempff MercadoSanta CruzBolivia
  2. 2.Wildlife Conservation SocietyBronxUSA

Personalised recommendations