Black, P. & Gonzalez, S. (Deer Red List Authority)
This species is considered to be Vulnerable do to an ongoing decline and past population reduction of greater than 30% over the last three generations (12 years), estimated from a decline in habitat quality and availability and persecution my domestic and hunting dogs. It is suspected that this rate will continue and that the species will decline by at least another 30% in the next three generations (12 years).
Previously published Red List assessments:
Insufficiently Known (K)
Status inadequately known-survey required or data sought
Southern Pudu occurs in southern Chile (from Maule Province as far as the Strait of Magellan) and some adjacent areas of southwestern Argentina from southwest Neuquén Province, southward along the foothills of the Andes, into southwest Santa Cruz Province (Hershkovitz 1982). The confirmed southern limit in Argentina is south of the National Park Los Acerces in Chubut Province, around 43ºS (Ramilo 2001).
The Southern Pudu inhabits dense temperate forest, between sea level and 1,700 m, where it browses mainly foliage and shoots (Miller et al. 1973, Hershkovitz 1982). It is also common in disturbed forests, as long as it is not harassed by people and especially dogs. It feeds on new leaves and shoots of native trees, avellanas fruit (Gevuina avellana), many forb species, and flowers (Jimenez pers. comm.). It is solitary, except during the rut, and in spring when young accompany mothers (Hershkovitz 1982).
The species is thought to have undergone rapid decline in recent decades as a result of poaching and illegal collecting for zoos and private collections (DSG 1991). Habitat conversion, predation by domestic dogs, and competition with exotic deer and domestic livestock are serious associated threats (Eldridge et al. 1987). In addition, the species is hunted for subsistence use for food and skins, and heavily poached for the captive animal trade (Jimenez pers. comm., Toledo pers. comm.). In Argentina in the last three years there have been a number of road kills of pudus on the internal roads of the national parks. The increase in the number of roads within the distribution area of the pudu should be considered a threat, not only because of the number of road kills but also because of the interference with normal movements and isolation of populations.
This species is listed on CITES Appendix I. A captive breeding program is currently underway (Concepcion University, Chile) and there are plans to reintroduce animals into three national parks (Toledo pers. comm.). Recommended conservation actions include: initiate coordinated research to examine habitat requirements, food habits, and behavioral ecology; determine impact of feral dogs. Feral dogs are also very significant threats in Argentina. Also, determine effect of introduced wild pigs, whose distribution is greater than that of the pudu; there is 100% overlap of the distribution of wild pigs and pudus and undertake status surveys to establish extent of habitat decline and forest fragmentation; use information to identify priority areas for Southern pudu conservation and develop coordinated program to manage species throughout range; strengthen existing protected areas management; interchange of captive animals among captive breeding programs for self maintenance to reduce inbreeding, genetically manage the international captive population to reduce inbreeding; and conduct research on reproduction, nutrition, and behavior.