Jaime Andrés Cabrera
Ph.D. Student- Durrell Institute of Conservation and Ecology
Location: Amazonas, Colombia
Research: Natural Lick Ecology at Southern Colombian Amazon
Species/Topic: Large mammal herbivorous community
Abstract: Natural licks are sites where wildlife consumes mineral rich soil, which occur in diverse habitats around the world, from African savannas, to Asian woodland, to Amazonian rainforests. These sites seem to perform an important ecological function for the rainforests' mammal population, all of which visit the licks, although their exact role has not been established. In the Amazon, indigenous people use natural licks as favored hunting grounds, especially to hunt the large lowland tapir, which is a vulnerable and overexploited species, but also one that is preferred for bush-meat. Bush meat hunting is one of the major issues facing tropical forest conservation. Therefore, a better understanding of natural licks, the animals that use them, and sustainable management of the people who hunt at them will be important in helping to conserve Amazonian wildlife and the forests in which they live.