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Mazama rufina

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Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
ANIMALIA CHORDATA MAMMALIA CETARTIODACTYLA CERVIDAE

Scientific Name: Mazama rufina
Species Authority: (Pucheran, 1851)
Common Name(s):
English Dwarf Red Brocket, Little Red Brocket Deer, Little Red Brocket
Spanish Venado Chonta, Venado De Páramo
Taxonomic Notes: Pucheran published the first description of M. rufina giving credit to Bourcier and Pucheran. However, Pucheran was the sole author of the publication while Bourcier collected the syntypes. The subspecies described by Cabrera (1961): M. r. bricenii, M. r. nana and M. r. rufina are each a valid species (Czernay 1987).

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Vulnerable A4c; C1 ver 3.1
Year Published: 2008
Date Assessed: 2008-06-30
Assessor(s): Lizcano, D. & Alvarez, S.J.
Reviewer(s): Black, P. & Gonzalez, S. (Deer Red List Authority)
Justification:
This species is considered to be Vulnerable due to an ongoing population decline, inferred to be greater than 30%, over a period of 3 generations (21 years) considering both the past (10 years) and future (11 years) estimated from loss of primary habitat. In addition remaining small populations are estimated to continuing declining at a rate of at least 10% over the next 3 generations. This species occurs in an area targeted for the use and expansion of illicit crops, which is currently reducing the species range but has potential to become a greater threat. New highway construction and mining also pose additional future threats to the species.

Criteria A & C: Declining population
Population decline occurred in the past and is projected for the future. Threats to this species have not ceased and are not reversible. An inferred population decline based on habitat reduction suggests assignment to the category of VU A4c. Additionally an estimated continuing decline in habitat range of at least 10% of within 10 years or three generations, support the status of VU C1.

Criterion B: Geographic range size
Extent of occurrence (EOO), based on a habitat model of museum records in Colombia, Ecuador, and Peru shows a habitat reduction of 47 % of their original habitat. Most of the 30 % reduction happened in the last ten years, at least in Colombia, as result of severe deforestation and agriculture. Habitat destruction has occurred for decades in the range of the Dwarf Red Brocket. At least 50% of the expected range in Colombia is somehow degraded due to colonization, deforestation, and burning for coffee agriculture and cattle grazing (see Threats).

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description: Following (Czernay 1987) M. rufina is restricted to the Andes. It was originally found in montane forest and paramos at altitudes between 1500-3500 m.a.s.l. (Eisenberg and Redford 1999), from the Central Andes in Colombia to Huancabamba valley in northern Peru. It is currently restricted to remnant forest patches and paramos in Colombia, Ecuador and Peru. In Colombia it occurs in the states of Nariño, Huila, Cauca, Valle del Cauca, Tolima, Risaralda, Quindío, Caldas, and Boyacá (Alberico et al. 2000). M. rufina has not been recorded for the Oriental Andes of Colombia (Cuervo et al. 1986, Alberico et al. 2000). Although M. rufina is not included in the list of mammals of Antioquia state (Cuartas-Calle and Muñoz-Arango 2003), photographic evidence of its presence and of its being hunted was recorded at the “Páramo de Belmira” in the Central Andes of Antioquia (Delgado-V. Obs. Pers. 2003), which is the northern most record for this species. In Ecuador it was recorded in the western and eastern Andes along the Chimborazo region axis (Tirira 2001). In Peru it is distributed on the eastern flank of the Andes in the watersheds of the Amazon river.

The southern limit of M. rufina is the Huacabamba valley which also acts as a biogeographical barrier for other mammal species (Hershkovitz 1959, 1982, Eisenberg and Redford 1999). The northern limit of their distribution is not well known.
Countries:
Native:
Colombia; Ecuador; Peru
Range Map: Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population: Its density is low ranging from 0.06 (individuals/km²) in mature forest to 0.3 (individuals/km²) in ecotone paramo-montane forest. Its preferred habitats are paramo and forest-paramo ecotone over secondary and mature forest (Lizcano 2006). Collection sites in Colombia may be grouped into 3 to 5 locations distributed in the National Park Los Nevados, Las Hermosas, Nevado del Huila, and Doña Ana, and potentially in Pichachos, Macarena, Sumapaz, and Chingaza. Collection sites of Ecuador correspond to locations at Sangay and Podocarpus National Parks. In Peru collection sites are in and around Tabaconas – Namballe (Maravi et al. 2003). Current distribution and abundance need to be further assessed. A decreasing population trend is inferred from habitat destruction..
Population Trend: Decreasing

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology: Records from Ecuador include ‘ceja de selva’, elfin forest, and grasslands (3,600 m), cloud forest / montane ‘Yungas’ forests, and sub Andean forests (1,400 m). Records from Peru include the same vegetation types as in Ecuador and Colombia, but without records in grasslands or over 3,600 m. The main habitat of M. rufina is paramos and tropical montane cloud forests above 1500 m. The paramos are high altitude grasslands (Boom et al. 2001), which are dominated by Calamagrostis spp. and gigantic Andean rosette plants from the genus Espeletia (Luteyn 1992). The tropical montane cloud forest is a type of vegetation that has special climatic conditions causing cloud and mist to be regularly in contact with the forest vegetation (Bruijnzeel and Veneklaas 1998). These forests support ecosystems of distinctive floristic and structural forms with lower canopy and thicker understory than lowland forests (Grubb et al. 1963).

Along its distribution, M. rufina shares the same habitat with the northern pudu (Pudu mephistophiles) (Hershkovitz 1982); the mountain tapir (Tapirus pinchaque) (Lizcano et al. 2002); and the Andean bear (Tremarctos ornatus) (Peyton 1999). Details of its ecology are unknown, although it seems to be solitary, active by day as well as at night, and expected to be a browser/frugivore in the forest understorey. They are shy and secretive animals, rarely seen because of their nocturnal habits. They live either alone or in pairs and normally within a small territory. They usually defecate in latrines probably located at the boundaries of their territories.

The Brocket deer is a frequent visitor of salt licks (Lizcano and Cavelier 2004). In the Central Andes of Colombia its diet is composed of 40 species of plants mainly herbs, from which it prefers plants of Solanum spp. and Begonia umbellata (Lizcano 2006). They rely on their small size and knowledge of the habitat in which they live to escape predators, diving into thick vegetation when detected. Occasionally they present freezing behavior before escaping. Nothing is known of reproduction or life in captivity. Oxalis sp. has been identified among plant species eaten by Mazama rufina. No research has been conducted to study the home range.
Systems: Terrestrial

Use and Trade [top]

Use and Trade: Hunting occurs as a source of meat and medicinal products at the local level but needs assessment. Hoofs are used for handicraft production at local levels.

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): Habitat destruction occurs due to small scale cattle ranching and agriculture practiced by local communities through forest cutting and burning of montane grasslands and shrublands. Illegal plantations of opium and Coca may be the main cause of habitat destruction in some areas of Colombia (Alvarez 2007). Mining, road construction and colonization expand habitat loss. Climate change might also result in area or quality decrease of available habitat for the species in the future, since cloud forests and paramos are broadly affected by atmospheric temperature increase (Foster 2001). Hunting occurs as a source of meat and medicinal products at the local level but needs assessment. They are preyed on by a small number of South American predators, such as puma and feral dogs.

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: Some populations are present in Colombian Central Andes protected areas and Ecuadorian Andean national parks and ecological reserves, but hunting still occurs and its effect on the populations is unknown. Brocket deer are a highly preferred hunting trophy and its meat is considered a delicacy by campesinos and indigenous groups in the Andes. M. rufina is considered a near threatened species in Colombia (Alberico et al. 2000, Rodriguez-Mahecha et al. 2006), and in Ecuador (Tirira 2001). M. rufina is protected under the Colombian law according to “Decreto 2811 de 1974”. This species is not included in the CITES appendices. This taxon needs to be locally and regionally recognized as a potentially threatened species; for this, more field surveys, ecological studies and educational / management work with communities focusing on habitat destruction and hunting are needed.

Citation: Lizcano, D. & Alvarez, S.J. 2008. Mazama rufina. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2014.3. <www.iucnredlist.org>. Downloaded on 20 December 2014.
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