|Scientific Name:||Lama guanicoe (P.L.S. Müller, 1776)|
Lama glama ssp. guanicoe (P.L.S. Müller, 1776)
There is strong morphological, chromosomal, molecular, and archaeological evidence demonstrating that the Llama originally began with the domestication of the Guanaco in the Central Andes (Wheeler et al. 2006, Marín et al. 2007), as indicated in the name Lama glama first suggested by Linneaus (1758) for designating the Guanaco species (Grubb 2005). Today, the endorsement is clear that Lama guanicoe is a valid species for the wild form (Gentry et al. 2004).
|Red List Category & Criteria:||Least Concern ver 3.1|
|Assessor(s):||Baldi, R.B., Acebes, P., Cuéllar, E., Funes, M., Hoces, D., Puig, S. & Franklin, W.L.|
|Reviewer(s):||González, B.A. & Lichtenstein, G.|
|Contributor(s):||Soto, N., Cerda, C. & Villalba, L.|
The species status is considered to be of Least Concern based upon its wide continental distribution (around one million km2), its presumed total population size (around one million adults), and the presence of numerous protected areas across its range of distribution (56 protected areas covering around 146,000 km2). However, Guanaco actual conservation measures continue to be primarily based upon recurring emergencies, specifically, severe local poaching, which do not fulfill the greater holistic threats faced by the species. This is a result of its wide distribution existing in small-fragmented and isolated populations, in contrast to some abundant populations that are locally and widely distributed.
|Previously published Red List assessments:|
The Guanaco is a widespread species with an extensive, although discontinuous, range from the northern Peru (8°30’ S) to Navarino Island (55°S) in southern Chile, from the Pacific Ocean in the northwest to the Atlantic Ocean in the southeast, and from the sea level to 5,000 meters elevation in the Andean Mountains (Franklin 1982, González et al. 2006, González in prep.).
Native:Argentina; Bolivia, Plurinational States of; Chile; Paraguay; Peru
Introduced:Falkland Islands (Malvinas)
|Range Map:||Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.|
It is estimated that Guanaco abundance has been reduced to only 3-7% of their original numbers when Europeans arrived to South America and the total Guanaco population was between 30-50 million animals (Raedeke 1979). Today, the total continental population of Guanacos is between 1,500,000-2,200,000 with the estimated number of adults between 1,000,000-1,500,000 (calculated from life-tables of Raedeke 1979; Fritz and Franklin 1994), two to three times greater than previously assessed (Baldi et al. 2008). That number would be reduced if effective population size (Ne) is applied (Sarno et al. 2015). Some 81-86% of the Guanaco population is found in Argentina followed by Chile at 14-18%. The total numbers in Peru, Bolivia, and Paraguay are less than 1% of the total. Differences in survey methodologies and effort across such a vast area make it necessary to be cautious about population numbers and should be taken only as references. Specifically, what is needed is a more reliable estimate for the entire Argentine Patagonia (Schroeder et al. 2014, Travaini et al. 2015). For Chile the total estimate is rather speculative as these numbers come from scattered information instead of planned surveys. More accurate surveys will hopefully come from new methods applicable for population estimation designed for large areas (González 2010a) or application of standard methodologies at broad scale (Soto 2010). For Peru, Bolivia and Paraguay, most assessments have been based mainly on animal counts because of the large and remote areas involved, possibly underestimating total population size.
Trend: Increasing. Although the global population estimate is higher than previous assessments, current approaches take into account new information and methods of estimation (Schroeder et al. 2014, Zubillaga et al. 2014, Travaini et al. 2015). Under-estimates and over-estimates have occurred in the past because of incomplete and inaccurate population-survey methodologies, especially in low population densities over the vast areas involved. Also, some large areas previously unknown have been recently surveyed. At the same time, high-numbered populations in the Argentine and Chilean Patagonia have experienced significant growth in the past number of years (Zubillaga et al. 2014). However, caution should be noted that although numbers have seemingly increased in the far southern cone of South America, in the balance of the Guanaco’s distribution, populations are small and in real decline or at best tenuously stable, such as in Peru, Bolivia, Paraguay, northern Chile, and Nnrthern Argentina (Wildlife Conservation Society 2012).
|Current Population Trend:||Increasing|
|Habitat and Ecology:|
The Guanaco is a wild ungulate found from sea level to over 5,000 meters elevation (González et al. 2006, González in prep.). At the continental and country levels, climate has mainly driven distributional range of the species (González et al. 2013). Guanaco habitat is characterized by highly seasonal climates, dry winters or snow covered, cold temperatures including below zero, winds from moderate to high intensity and low precipitation combined with high evapotranspiration create arid conditions that in general result in low plant productivity (Franklin, 1982, 1983; Wheeler 1995). In the sub-region of Patagonia (Hershkovitz 1972) Guanacos inhabit four of the ten major environments described for South America (González et al. 2006): 1) Desert and Xeric Shrublands, 2) Montane Grasslands, 3) Grasslands, Savannas and Shrublands, and 4) Temperate Forests (Dinerstein et al. 1995). Phytogeographically, Guanacos inhabit the provinces of the Monte and Patagonia, arid and semi-arid shrublands, and grasslands comprising around 1,000,000 km² (Wildlife Conservation Society 2012). On a smaller scale, the presence or absence of this species can be explained by altitude, vegetation, topography, and the occurrence of livestock (Travaini et al. 2007, Acebes et al. 2010, Iranzo et al. 2013, González et al. 2013).
|Continuing decline in area, extent and/or quality of habitat:||Yes|
|Generation Length (years):||4-5|
|Movement patterns:||Altitudinal Migrant|
|Congregatory:||Congregatory (and dispersive)|
|Use and Trade:||
The call for the management and wise use of Guanaco products (fine undercoat/fiber and meat) put forth over the past several decades as an alternative approach to traditional conservation and strict protection (Franklin and Fritz 1991, Franklin et al. 1997) is now in the pioneering stages trying to establish itself as a wildlife production system (Hudson 1989). Research and application of meat harvest programs have been conducted on Tierra del Fuego, Chile, after monitoring population (Skewes et al. 1999, Skewes et al. 2000, Soto 2010). Nearly 23,000 animals have been harvested for meat between 2003 and 2015 in Chilean Tierra del Fuego with products primarily exported or used in the local market (N. Soto, pers. com. 2016). Fiber utilization was achieved initially from Guanaco farm individuals captured in the wild as newborns and raised in captivity during the 1980s and 1990s (Bas and González et al. 2000), but this approach has largely been discontinued because of high husbandry costs and world instability in the specialty-fiber market. Another approach, as mentioned above, holds more long-term promise from capturing, shearing and releasing of individuals in wild populations in programs being developed in Argentina. Finally, non-consumptive use, such as tourism, has also helped promote the aesthetic value of the species, especially in wild protected areas (Franklin et al. 1997).
Guanacos are still numerous and widely distributed but continue their decline initiated in the 19th century in Peru, Bolivia, Paraguay, and major parts of Chile. Over-hunting, range degradation from livestock overgrazing, and interspecific competition for forage have all played significant and long-time roles in the demise of Guanacos all across their distributional range (Raedeke 1979; Franklin 1982; Miller et al. 1983; Cunazza et al. 1995; Cuellar and Fuentes 2000; Puig et al. 2001; Baldi et al. 2001, 2004). Currently, the main threats are still widespread, but mining and energy projects are also becoming a factor. Of special concern is the recent and rapid development of unconventional oil and gas exploration across large areas of the Guanaco’s distribution.
The Guanaco occurs in a number of protected areas and is included in Appendix II of CITES, thus regulating its international commerce of meat and fine-fiber products to insure that such trade does not threaten the Guanaco’s survival. In selected areas the sale of Guanaco products in local and international markets has contributed to its “species value” in recovered populations that can be used for reducing human-Guanaco conflict with ranchers and forestry production. Precaution needs to keep in mind for numerically depressed populations where consumptive and commerce use could irreversibly affect population stability; because of such potential problems, national legislation and international control via CITIES and other programs are relevant and important.
|Citation:||Baldi, R.B., Acebes, P., Cuéllar, E., Funes, M., Hoces, D., Puig, S. & Franklin, W.L. 2016. Lama guanicoe. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2016: e.T11186A18540211.Downloaded on 19 January 2018.|
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