Pudu puda 

Scope: Global
Language: English

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Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
Animalia Chordata Mammalia Cetartiodactyla Cervidae

Scientific Name: Pudu puda (Molina, 1782)
Common Name(s):
English Southern Pudu, Chilean Pudu
French Poudou du Sud, Pudu du Sud
Spanish Ciervo Enano, Pudu, Pudu Meridional, Venadito, Venado
Capra puda Molina, 1782

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Near Threatened ver 3.1
Year Published: 2016
Date Assessed: 2016-01-25
Assessor(s): Silva-Rodríguez, E, Pastore, H. & Jiménez, J.
Reviewer(s): Zanetti, E.S.Z. & González, S.
Contributor(s): Ramilo, E.J.
The Southern Pudu is a small sized deer endemic to the South American Temperate forests (Jiménez 2010). This deer was previously listed as Vulnerable under criterion A2cd+3cd (Jiménez and Ramilo 2008). The population of this species is inferred to have declined as native forest (its primary habitat) has declined almost 50% in the last 500 years (Lara et al. 2012). In the last 12-15 years (3 generations) the species has probably declined up to 20% due to the combination of forest loss, predation by domestic dogs and other threats, and is expected to continue declining. In this scenario, the Southern Pudu would be close to meeting criterion A2cde+3cde. The extent of occurrence of the species is much larger than 20,000 km² (see Pavéz-Fox and Estay 2016), and although population size is unknown, it is suspected to be larger than 10,000 individuals. Therefore, since the Southern Pudu does not meet the criteria for Vulnerable but is close to meeting criterion A, it is listed as Near Threatened.
Previously published Red List assessments:

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description:The Southern Pudu occurs in southern Chile and southwestern Argentina from 35º10’ to 46º45’S (Jiménez 2010). In Chile, recent records within this range include Trehualemu at the coastal range of the Maule region (Simonetti et al. 2013), Valdivian Coastal Range (Silva-Rodríguez et al. 2010, Silva-Rodríguez and Sieving 2012), Nahuelbuta Mountain Range, Puyehue, Perez-Rosales and Chiloé National Park (Jiménez pers. obs.) and Huinay, Palena (Delibes-Mateos et al. 2014). In southern Chile, Pudus are also commonly recorded in Puma (Puma concolor) scats (Rau and Jiménez 2002). In Argentina, 54 localities have been recorded (Pastore 2004, Meier and Merino 2007) between Lago Quillén, Lanín NP (39º23’ S, 71º17’ W) and Arroyo Pirámide, Los Alerces NP (42º58’S, 72º00’W). The extent of occurrence of this species is much larger than 20,000 km² (see Pavez-Fox and Estay 2016).
Countries occurrence:
Argentina; Chile
Additional data:
Upper elevation limit (metres):1700
Range Map:Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population:Up to recently, total population was thought to be less than 10,000 animals (e.g., Wemmer 1998, Jiménez and Ramilo 2008, Jiménez 2010), however there are no field data-based estimations (Jiménez 2010). Pudus are abundant in Chiloé (Jiménez 2010), and are frequently detected in camera traps in the Coastal Range of Los Ríos and Los Lagos regions (Silva-Rodríguez and Sieving 2012, Silva-Rodríguez pers. obs., A. Farías pers. com.) as well as in the coastal forests of the Nahuelbuta range (Jiménez pers. obs.). In the Central Valley of the Araucania region Pudus are very rare, nearly absent, whereas in the Andes of the same region it is considered rare but its presence is associated with riparian vegetation of major rivers and native forest within small valleys that surround protected areas (N. Gálvez pers. comm.).

Simonetti and Mella (1997) estimated that the area needed to sustain a population of 500 Pudus (assuming 100% suitable habitat) would range between 79 and 128 km². Following the same reasoning and assuming that 10% of the native forest was occupied by Pudu, the area needed to sustain 10,000 Pudus would range betwen 15,800 and 25,600 km² of native forest. Remaining forests between Maule and Los Lagos in Chile (35º-43º30’S) cover an area of approximately 57,626 km² (Lara et al. 2012), therefore the Pudu population is likely to exceed the 10,000 figure in this area (that represents a portion of its distribution). Although there is no data on population trends, population is suspected to be declining as a result of forest loss and degradation, predation by domestic dogs, as well as potential impacts from other alien species and poaching (Jiménez and Ramilo 2008, Jiménez 2010; see Threats).
Current Population Trend:Decreasing
Additional data:
Continuing decline of mature individuals:Yes
Population severely fragmented:No
Continuing decline in subpopulations:Yes

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology:The Southern Pudu occurs between the sea level and 1,700 m (Miller et al. 1973, Jiménez 2010). Pudus can use both mature and disturbed forests (Eldridge et al. 1987, Jiménez 2010), and are associated to dense understory (Eldridge et al. 1987, Meier and Merino 2007, Silva-Rodríguez and Sieving 2012). In the Valdivian Coastal Range, Pudu uses primary and secondary evergreen forest, eucalyptus plantations (Silva-Rodríguez and Sieving 2012) and alerce (Fitzroya cupressoides) forests (Silva-Rodríguez pers. obs.) whereas in other areas it is associated to dense Chusquea sp. bamboos (Jiménez pers. obs.). In Argentina, Meier and Merino (2007) reported the presence of Pudu in Nothofagus dombeyi forests and was associated to dense understory. Eldridge et al. (1987) reported home-ranges between 10.2 and 26.1 ha. Pudus are considered solitary deer, although home-range overlapping occurs (Eldridge et al. 1987, Jiménez 2010).
Continuing decline in area, extent and/or quality of habitat:Yes
Generation Length (years):12-15

Use and Trade [top]

Use and Trade: Pudu poaching still occurs in some areas (Jiménez 2010, Silva-Rodríguez et al. 2010). However, attitudes towards Pudu seem to be positive at least in the Valdivian Coastal Range (Stowhas 2012), Chiloé (Jiménez pers. comm.) and the Maulino forests (Zorondo-Rodríguez et al. 2014). This suggest that poaching could be less common than before, at least in these areas. In the Valdivian Coastal Range, Pudus are often saved by people from dog attacks (Silva-Rodríguez and Sieving 2012). In Argentina, poaching has not been documented in recent years (Ramilo 2001, Meier and Merino 2007). However, in other areas poaching for subsistence purposes occurs (Silva-Rodríguez et al. 2010, Jiménez 2010), and in some cases poaching is the final result of a dog attack (Silva-Rodríguez et al. 2011).

Poaching for (illegal) commercial purposes as well as to supply private collections is likely to occur. During the 1980’s over 600 Pudus were captured in Chiloe island (Astorga 1987 as cited in Jiménez 1995) and between 1985-1993 42 animals were legally exported from Chile (Iriarte et al. 1997). The current magnitude of poaching for commercial purposes is unknown, but it is suspected that the captive population is supplemented with wild animals (Jiménez 2010).

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): The species has likely experienced important declines over historical time. Nearly half of the native forests in the Valdivian Ecoregion in Chile (35º-43º30’) were lost between 1550 and 2007 (Lara et al. 2012). This area comprise most of Pudu distribution. Forest loss has been more severe in the northern part of Pudu distribution. For example, in coastal areas of the Maule region 67% of forest was lost between 1975 and 2000 (Echeverría et al. 2006). In La Araucanía, deforestation rates have reached 2.9% for the period 1999-2008, rates that are higher than in previous periods (Miranda et al. 2015). Deforestation rates are lower (but still important) from Los Rios to the south. Lara et al. (2012) reported that 66% and 74% of the forest present in 1550 was extant in Los Rios and Los Lagos, respectively in 2007. For coastal forests of Los Ríos region, net forest loss between 1985 and 2011 was 5.1% (Zamorano-Elgueta et al. 2015). According to Echeverría et al. (2012), in three areas of Los Lagos region forest loss occurred at annual rates of 1% (northern Chiloé, 1985-2007), 1% (Maullín, 1985-2007) and 0.8% (Rupanco, 1986-2006). Forest lost is often replaced by exotic tree plantations (e.g., Echeverría et al. 2006, Miranda et al. 2015, Zamorano-Elgueta et al. 2015). Pudus can use plantations if there is dense understory (e.g., Silva-Rodríguez and Sieving 2012, Simonetti et al. 2013). However, considering that the final destiny is exploitation, plantations should be—at best—considered poor quality habitat.

Attacks by domestic dogs are a common threat. Dogs are associated to human houses (Silva-Rodríguez and Sieving 2012, Sepúlveda et al. 2015) and roads (Sepúlveda et al. 2015, Moreira-Arce et al. 2015). Dog attacks on Pudu occurs in multiple areas (Silva-Rodríguez et al. 2010, Silva-Rodríguez and Sieving 2011, 2012, Sepúlveda et al. 2014), even within national parks (Chang Reissig et al. 2013), and is a frequent reason for Pudu admission to rescue centers (Silva-Rodríguez et al. 2010). In the Valdivian Coastal Range, Silva-Rodríguez and Sieving (2012) reported that the probability of Pudu presence was higher in areas with lower probability of dog presence. Similar scenarios may occur in other areas such as Chiloé (J. Jiménez, pers. obs.). The importance of dogs as a threat is expected to be critical in fragmented landscapes, where the area free of dog influence may be small (Silva-Rodríguez and Sieving 2012).

Invasive deer and wild boar (Sus scrofa) are present in part of Pudu distribution (Meier and Merino 2007), whereas cattle is widespread (e.g., Meier and Merino 2007, Silva-Rodríguez et al. 2010). Within Pudu distribution, non-native herbivores lead to habitat degradation, affecting understory (e.g., Veblen et al. 1989, 1992; Raffele et al. 2007), and forest regeneration (Zamorano-Elgueta et al. 2014). The potential ability of these invasive species to occupy and modify diverse habitats (Barrios and Ballari 2012) might affect the distribution of Pudu (Meier and Merino 2007). The presence of cattle-related pathogens has been documented in Pudu (e.g., pestivirus, Pizarro-Lucero et al. 2005; Mycobacterium avium subsp. paratuberculosis, (Salgado et al. 2015)), although the significance of these findings for Pudu populations in the wild is unclear. Wild boar could eventually prey on Pudu fawns, but to our knowledge this has not been documented.

Roads are an additional threat that deserves attention. Animals are in occassion hit by cars (Silva-Rodríguez et al. 2010) even inside protected areas (Pastore and Ramilo pers. obs., Jiménez pers. obs.) and highways could be a barrier to movement, although this has not been tested. However, roads and road development is a concern because of the indirect effects associated. Roads facilitate the movement of dogs (Sepúlveda et al. 2015), one of the key threats for Pudus and land-cover change often occurs associated to roads (Wilson et al. 2005). In Chile, the projected bridge between Chiloé and mainland deserves attention, as it may connect Chiloé and mainland populations (that present genetic and morphological differences, see Fuentes-Hurtado et al. 2011) and may facilitate the invasion by carnivores that are native in mainland, but absent from Chiloé, such as foxes and pumas. Thus, road development cannot be seen simply as animals killed by cars, but as an important driver of other threats.

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: Conservation actions in place
This species is listed on CITES Appendix I. Hunting is illegal in all the territory of Argentina (Law 22.421) and Chile (D.S. Nº 5/1998 MINAGRI). The Southern Pudu is listed as vulnerable in Chile (D.S. 151/2007 MINSEGPRES). Also, it is considered as a “Special Value Species” in Argentinean national parks where the species is present (Res. 284/91).

There is a large number of protected areas within Pudu distribution, and Pudu is known to be present in many of them (Jiménez 2010). In Argentina, 98% of localities recorded are located within national parks (Pastore 2004). A high proportion of the protected areas within the distribution of Pudu in Chile are larger than the minimum needed to sustain 500 individuals (Simonetti and Mella 1997). In addition, in Chile there are several private protected areas within Pudu distribution (Maule to Aysen, e.g., Valdivian Coastal Reserve, Tantauco, Pumalin, etc.), that as a whole, protect several hundreds thousands of hectares (see Praus et al. 2011).

Pudu is a conservation target for the Valdivian Coastal Reserve (Delgado 2005, Silva-Rodríguez et al. 2015). In this area, monitoring is in place, and different strategies such as promoting better care of dogs, forest restoration and cattle management are in different stages of implementation (Silva-Rodríguez, pers. obs.).

Finally, there is an important stock of Pudus in captivity. There is an international studbook for the species that, between 1966 and 2013, had registered 1159 individuals, including 122 animals that were alive (May 2013) in 40 different institutions (Stadler and Aurich 2013). In February 2016 there were 136 Pudus registered in the Zoological Information Management System (ZIMS) (International Species Information System  2016). In addition, captive Pudus in Chile were estimated in 295 (Jiménez 2010). The captive stock has allowed to conduct a large number of studies on the biology (especially reproductive biology) of the species (e.g., Reyes et al. 1988, Bubenik et al. 2000,  Stadler and Aurich 2015, see review in Jiménez 2010).

Important conservation actions needed

As stated above there is a large number of protected areas within the distribution of the Pudu. However, there are some key issues that may affect the effectiveness of these areas in Chile. First, there is an important gap between the funds needed to manage adequately the protected areas and the funds available (Ladrón de Guevara et al. 2014). Consequently, adequate funding for protected areas is a fundamental issue to address. Second, private protected areas are important, but currently lack a normative framework (Praus et al. 2011), and consequently, securing the long term conservation of private protected areas is an important challenge.

Efforts to address the dog problem are being implemented in both Argentina’s (Pastore pers. obs.) and Chile’s Protected Areas System (CONAF 2015), through regulations that limits the entrance of dogs into officially protected areas. However, there is still an impact by dogs from the surrounding areas (Silva-Rodríguez and Sieving 2012), therefore limiting the ranging behavior of local dogs is fundamental but at the same time challenging due to the important roles that dogs play for rural households (e.g., Silva-Rodríguez and Sieving 2012, Sepúlveda et al. 2015). These measures, need to be supported by better nation-wide policies on dog-ownership and responsibility.

Rehabilitated, rescued and confiscated Pudus are often released, but this management has been innefective in the coastal range as released individuals are quickly killed by pumas (A. Aleuy pers. comm.). Additionally, the release is a concern (Silva-Rodríguez et al. 2011, 2015), because released animals may represent a risk for the receptor population if protocols are inadequate. Animals should not be translocated between mainland and Chiloé because they present important genetic and morphological differences (Fuentes-Hurtado et al. 2011). Following international standards (e.g., IUCN 2000) for the release (or not) of the rehabilitated animals is fundamental and animals that can not be released could be allocated to environmental education (Silva-Rodríguez et al. 2011).

Research needed
Pudu conservation has been limited by the fact that up to recently most information available was anecdotal (Jiménez 2010). In recent years, this has began to change (e.g., Meier and Merino 2007, Fuentes-Hurtado et al. 2011, Silva-Rodríguez et al. 2010, Silva-Rodríguez and Sieving 2012). However, and despite major advances, still there are no estimates of Pudu population size or density. This major gap requires urgent attention.

There has been recent advances in the understanding of some of the threats that affect Pudu, including exotic plantations (Silva-Rodríguez and Sieving 2012, Simonetti et al. 2013) and domestic dogs (e.g., Silva-Rodríguez et al. 2010; Silva-Rodríguez and Sieving 2011, 2012; Sepúlveda et al. 2014). However, there are still very important gaps in understanding. First, recent evidence suggest that the presence of native understory is a key factor explaining the use of exotic plantation by forest mammals, including Pudu (Simonetti et al. 2013), however it is unclear how the long-term management of plantations (including clearcuts), affect or will affect Pudu. Second, Pumas, the main native Pudu predator, commonly prey on invasive species such as the European hare (Lepus europaeus) (Rau and Jiménez 2002). This alternate prey may keep high puma population that in turn may prey on Pudus (Silva-Rodríguez and Sieving 2011, Jiménez per. obs.). Third, the potential impact of wild boar on Southern Pudu habitat need to be clarified as this invasive species might affect the distribution of Pudu (Meier and Merino 2007). Forth, the potential effect of cattle-related pathogens on Pudu, such as pestivirus (Pizarro-Lucero et al. 2005) and Mycobacterium avium subsp. paratuberculosis (Salgado et al. 2015), is unknown and should be elucidated by further research. Fifth, it is important to determine whether poaching for commercial or subsistence purposes is a threat for some of the populations of this species. Finally, there are multiple threats, so assessing their relative importance (and the contexts in which they become important) is fundamental (Silva-Rodríguez et al. 2011).

Fuentes-Hurtado et al. (2011) suggested that Chiloé and mainland Pudu populations were different Evolutionary Significant Units. The authors proposed nomenclature for potential subspecies, however D’Elia (2012) indicated that minimum criteria to establish the new nomenclature was not met. Whether populations from Chiloé should be named as a different subspecies or not, is still waiting for an answer.

Citation: Silva-Rodríguez, E, Pastore, H. & Jiménez, J. 2016. Pudu puda. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2016: e.T18848A22164089. . Downloaded on 19 September 2018.
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