PhD Student; Molecular Ecology Laboratory, Institute of Ecology and Biodiversity, University of Chile
Location: Chiloe Island, Southern Chile
Research: Evaluation of the effects of human landscape perturbation on demographic and genetic population parameters of the kodkod on Chiloe Island
Species/Topic: Kodkod (Leopardus guigna)
Abstract: Human landscape perturbation is the main cause of species extinction worldwide. Wild felids are one of the most threatened groups inhabiting an altered habitat, mainly because of their large home ranges, low population densities and highly territorial behavior. The kodkod (Leopardus guigna) is the smallest felid in Chile and the Americas, and also one of the smallest in the world. It also has the most restricted geographic range of all the New World cat species, inhabiting only around 160,000 km2. This small cat is highly associated with the temperate rainforests of Chile and Argentina. It is considered endangered in Chile, mainly due to habitat loss and fragmentation, but also because of illegal killings. This project will evaluate for the first time the direction and magnitude of the effects of human landscape perturbation on kodkod population parameters. It will increase awareness of the importance of preserving the temperate rainforests for the long term persistence of kodkod populations, thus facilitating conservation actions and management decisions.