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Mazama bricenii

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Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
ANIMALIA CHORDATA MAMMALIA CETARTIODACTYLA CERVIDAE

Scientific Name: Mazama bricenii
Species Authority: Thomas, 1908
Common Name(s):
English Mérida Brocket, Rufous Brocket, Meroia Brocket
Spanish Candelillo, Locha, Soche De Páramo, Venado Matacán Andino
Taxonomic Notes: The species was considered a subspecies of M. rufina by Cabrera (1961). Nevertheless, no specific studies have been carried out to fully clarify the taxonomic status of M. bricenii. Due to its separated geographical distribution from M. rufina and the lack of further information about its biology, it is still considered a valid species (Czernay 1987).

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Vulnerable A4c ver 3.1
Year Published: 2008
Date Assessed: 2008-06-30
Assessor(s): Lizcano, D. J. & 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.

Criterion A (population reduction):
Population decline occurred in the past and is projected for the future. An estimate of the actual extent of occurrence (EOO) is 24,912 km² , which means a 56% decrease from the original distribution based on a habitat model of museum records in Colombia and Venezuela. Threats to this species have not ceased and are not reversible. Habitat destruction has occurred for decades in the range of the Merida Brocket.

Criterion B (Geographic range size):
The Merida Brocket habitat has been degraded due to colonization, deforestation and burning, agriculture, illicit crops and cattle grazing. Most of the reduction occurred in the last ten years as a result of severe deforestation and agricultural development, at least in Colombia. Additionally, a projected continuing decline of the extent of occurrence based on continuing deforestation together with a low percentage of protected areas (two National Parks) may result in more than 30% reduction of the population (if it has not already occurred), thus supporting the status of Vulnerable.

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description: This species is patchily distributed in the high Andes in northern Colombia and western Venezuela. According to present forest distribution, the largest populations of M. bricenii should be located in the following Venezuelan national parks: El Tama National Park, between Táchira and Apure states; Páramos del Batallón National Park between Mérida and Táchira states; Sierra Nevada National Park between Barinas and Mérida states; Sierra de la Culata National Park in Mérida and Trujillo states; Guaramacal National Park also known as "General Cruz Carrillo" in the state of Trujillo, with a small portion located in the state of Portuguesa (Utrera 1999); and Dinira National Park located in Sierra de Barbacoas, in watersheds of Tocuyo river between Lara, Portuguesa and Trujillo states. Dinira and Guaramacal are probably the eastern most location of the species within Venezuela. Some populations might be expected outside protected areas in the hinterlands between Sierra Nevada and Páramos del Batallon national parks, an area known as Pueblos del Sur de Mérida, and between Guaramacal and Sierra Nevada national parks, known as Ramal de Calderas. In Colombia it is found in Tama national park in Norte de Santander state and possibly in Cocuy national park between Boyaca, Arauca and Casanare states. The southern distribution limit is unknown.
Countries:
Native:
Colombia; Venezuela, Bolivarian Republic of
Range Map: Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population: Current distribution and abundance need to be assessed. A decreasing population trend is inferred from habitat destruction.
Population Trend: Decreasing

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology: Originally found in montane forests and paramos at altitudes between 1000 and 3500 m.a.s.l. in mountain chains and massifes crossing over Venezuela (Zulia, Tachira, Apure, Merida, and Trujillo) and Colombia (La Guajira, Cesar, Norte de Santander, Santander, Boyaca). Linares (1998) reports M. bricenii as present on the eastern flank of Perija massive based on animal body parts that he collected at 3100 m in Cerro Viruela near Pico Tetari. Thus, it is highly probable that the species also occupies paramos on the Colombian side of Perija.

The main habitat of M. bricenii 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). Details on M. bricenii ecology are unknown, although it seems to be solitary, active at day as well as at night, and expected to be a browser/frugivore in the forest understory. 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 boundaries of territories. Further research is required.
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. Hunting of Merida Brocket has been against the law in Venezuela since 1979, when a general ban on hunting of this species was formalized due to the low density (República de Venezuela 1980).

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 shrub lands. 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 a reduction of available habitat for the species in the future, since cloud forests and paramos are broadly affected by atmospheric temperature rise (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 probably present in all Venezuelan Andean national parks, but hunting still occurs and the effect of hunting on its populations is unknown (Rodriguez and Rojas-Suarez 1995). The protected areas overlapping Mérida brocket distribution and the establishment of corridors between the parks could protect a large part of Merida brocket populations. Additionally consensus building is needed among key social and political actors, with top-down and bottom-up approaches that consider ecological, social, and political sustainability (Yerena et al. 2003). Hunting of Merida brocket is against the law in Venezuela since 1979, when a general ban on hunting of this species was formalized due to the low density (República de Venezuela 1980). It is actually considered an endangered species in Venezuela (República de Venezuela 1996a, 1996b).

Citation: Lizcano, D. J. & Alvarez, S. J. 2008. Mazama bricenii. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2014.2. <www.iucnredlist.org>. Downloaded on 30 October 2014.
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