Leopardus guigna


Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family

Scientific Name: Leopardus guigna
Species Authority: (Molina, 1782)
Common Name(s):
English Guiña, Kodkod, Chilean Cat
French Guigna
Spanish Guina
Oncifelis guigna (Molina, 1782)
Taxonomic Notes: Placed in the genus Leopardus by Johnson et al. (2006) and Eizirik et al. (submitted).

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Vulnerable A2a; C2a(i) ver 3.1
Year Published: 2008
Date Assessed: 2008-06-30
Assessor(s): Acosta, G. & Lucherini, M.
Reviewer(s): Nowell, K., Breitenmoser-Wursten, C., Breitenmoser, U. (Cat Red List Authority) & Schipper, J. (Global Mammal Assessment Team)
Relative to Neotropical cats and felids in general, the tiny guiña has an unusually restricted extent of occurrence (approximately 177,000 km²). Although guiñas can occur at high densities (one per km² in southern Chile: Dunstone et al. 2002), they have a patchy area of occupancy, particularly in the north of the range (Acosta et al. 2003). The total effective population size may be fewer than 10,000 mature breeding individuals, with a declining trend due to habitat and prey base loss and persecution, and no subpopulation having an effective population size larger than 1,000 mature breeding individuals. A decline of at least 30% is suspected over the past 3 generations (18 years) due to extensive habitat conversion to pine forest plantations over the northern two thirds of its range. This reduction has not ceased and is not reversible in the short term - and current development trajectories suggest that it will also continue into the future but at an unknown rate (IUCN Cats Red List Workshop 2007).
2002 Vulnerable
1996 Vulnerable
1994 Indeterminate (Groombridge 1994)

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description:The guiña, the smallest felid in the Americas, also has the smallest distribution, being found primarily in central and southern Chile and marginally in adjoining areas of Argentina. The guiña is the only small felid to occur over most of its range, although on the eastern limit, in Argentina, it is sympatric with the Geoffroy’s cat (Lucherini et al. 2001). It is also found on the large island of Chiloe off the coast of southern Chile (Sanderson et al. 2002). Its extent of occurrence is estimated at approximately 177,000 km² (J. Schipper pers. comm. 2007), but its area of occupancy is much smaller and fragmented due to loss of its native temperate forest habitat; Acosta-Jamett et al. (2003) estimated that there were 24 separate subpopulations in central Chile.
Argentina; Chile
Range Map:Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population: In fragmented areas in central Chile, Acosta-Jamett et al. (2003) estimated approximately 2,000 individuals in 24 subpopulations. Of these, 22 (90%) are estimated to hold fewer than 70 individuals, and 13 (44%) less than 10. Status in southern Chile is more secure, where human activity is less and there are several large protected areas, and Dunstone et al. (2002) obtained high densities of 1 adult/sub-adult guiga per square kilometer. The population in Argentina is considered small (M. Lucherini pers. comm. 2007).
Population Trend: Decreasing

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology: The species is strongly associated with the moist temperate mixed forests of the southern Andean and Coastal ranges, particularly the Valdivian and Araucaria forests of Chile, which is characterized by the presence of bamboo in the understory. It ranges up to the treeline at approximately 1,900 (Miller and Rottmann 1976) to 2,500 m. In Argentina, the species has been recorded from moist montane forest which has Valdivian characteristics, including a multi-layered structure with bamboo, and numerous lianas and epiphytes (Nowell and Jackson 1996). L. guigna is also relatively tolerant of altered habitats, being found in secondary forest and shrub as well as primary forest, and on the fringes of settled and cultivated areas (Nowell and Jackson 1996). The presence of primary forest corridors is likely an important component of their long term persistence in human dominated landscape (Sanderson et al. 2002, Acosta-Jamett et al. 2003, Acosta-Jamett and Simonetti 2007).

In southern Chile, where it is found in beech Nothofagus forest, Freer (2004) found that areas of dense shrubby understory (thicket-forest) were preferred over primary forest.

On Chile's Chiloe Island, in a largely agricultural landscape, Sanderson et al. (2002) found home ranges of 6.5 km² and 1.2 km² for females. Freer (2004) reported smaller home ranges (MCP95) of 1.3 km² for males and 1 km² for females from two national parks in southern Chile.

guiñas in southern Chile fed primarily on small mammals, especially rodents, but birds were also frequently taken. They scavenge opportunistically on carrion (Freer 2004).
Systems: Terrestrial

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): The major threat to the guiña is logging of its temperate moist forest habitat, and the spread of pine forest plantations and agriculture, particularly in central Chile. Acosta-Jamett et al. (2003) found lower densities in plantation forest, which was only used if it was close to native forest or had native forest regeneration in the understory.

They are also viewed negatively as a poultry depredator, with 81.4% of 43 families interviewed in a rural area of southern Chile considering it “damaging or very damaging”, although there was only a single recent report of a guiña killing 12 hens in a henhouse (Silva-Rodriguez et al. 2007). On Chiloe Island, two out of five radio-collared cats were killed while raiding chicken coops during the first study of this species (Sanderson et al. 2002).

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: Included on CITES Appendix II and protected by national legislation in Argentina and Chile (Nowell and Jackson 1996).
It is recorded in 16 protected areas in Chile, but many are too small to support viable populations (Acosta et al. 2003). It is known from three national parks in Argentina: Lanin, Nahuel Huapi, and Los Alerces (Nowell and Jackson 1996), although densities may be low. The most important conservation measure for this species is providing connectivity between native forest patches across areas currently under management as plantation forest. It is also important, in areas such as Chiloe Island where they are considered livestock pests, to improve chicken coops and reduce conflict (J. Sanderson pers. comm.) Further studies are required on the species ecology, demographics, natural history, and threats (IUCN Cats Red List workshop, 2007).

Bibliography [top]

Acosta-Jamett, G. and Simonetti, J. A. 2007. Conservation of Oncifelis guigna in fragmented forests of central Chile. In: J. Hughes and R. Mercer (eds), Felid Biology and Conservation Conference 17-19 September: Abstracts, pp. 63-64. WildCRU, Oxford.

Acosta-Jamett, G., Simonetti, J. A., Bustamante, R. O. and Dunstone, N. 2003. Metapopulation approach to assess survival of Oncifelis guigna in fragmented forests of central Chile: a theoretical model. Mastozoología Neotropical 10(2): 217-229.

Dunstone, N., Durbin, L., Wyllie, I., Freer, R., Jamett, G. A., Mazzolli, M. and Rose, S. 2002. Spatial organization, ranging behaviour and habitat use of the kodkod (Oncifelis guigna) in southern Chile. Journal of Zoology (London) 257(1): 1-11.

Eizirik, E., Johnson, W. E. and O'Brien, S. J. Submitted. Molecular systematics and revised classification of the family Felidae (Mammalia, Carnivora). Journal of Mammalogy.

Freer, R. A. 2004. The Spatial Ecology of the Guiña (Oncifelis guigna) in Southern Chile. Thesis, Department of Biological Sciences, University of Durham.

IUCN. 2008. 2008 IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Available at: http://www.iucnredlist.org. (Accessed: 5 October 2008).

Johnson, W. E., Eizirik, E., Pecon-Slattery, J., Murphy, W. J., Antunes, A., Teeling, E. and O'Brien, S. J. 2006. The late miocene radiation of modern felidae: A genetic assesstment. Science 311: 73-77.

Lucherini, M., Merino, M. J. and Soler, L. 2000. First data on the kodkod in Argentina. Cat News 32: 19-20.

Lucherini, M., Vidal, E. L. and Beldomenico, P. 2001. First record of sympatry of guigna and Geoffroy's cat. Cat News 35: 20-21.

Nowell, K. and Jackson, P. 1996. Wild Cats. Status Survey and Conservation Action Plan. IUCN/SSC Cat Specialist Group, Gland, Switzerland and Cambridge, UK.

Sanderson, J. G., Sunquist, M. E. and Iriarte, A. W. 2002. Natural history and landscape-use of guignas (Oncifelis guigna) on Isla Grande de Chloe, Chile. Journal of Mammalogy 83(2): 608.

Silva-Rodriguez, E. A., Ortega-Solis, G. R. and Jimenez, J. E. 2007. Human attitudes toward wild felids in a human-dominated landscape of southern Chile. Cat News 46: 19-21.

Citation: Acosta, G. & Lucherini, M. 2008. Leopardus guigna. In: The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2014.3. <www.iucnredlist.org>. Downloaded on 22 December 2014.
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