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How Roads Affect the Spatial Use of the Guanaco in a South American Protected Area: Human Connectivity vs Animal Welfare

1
INTERBIODES (Interacciones Biológicas del Desierto), Facultad Ciencias Exactas, Físicas y Naturales, Universidad Nacional de San Juan, San Juan J5400ARL, Argentina
2
CIGEOBIO, UNSJ-CONICET (Centro de Investigaciones de la Geósfera y Biósfera, Universidad Nacional de San Juan–Consejo Nacional de Investigaciones Científicas y Técnicas), San Juan J5400ARL, Argentina
3
Instituto y Museo de Ciencias Naturales, Facultad Ciencias Exactas, Físicas y Naturales, Universidad Nacional de San Juan, San Juan J5400ARL, Argentina
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Diversity 2019, 11(7), 110; https://doi.org/10.3390/d11070110
Received: 19 March 2019 / Revised: 24 June 2019 / Accepted: 2 July 2019 / Published: 12 July 2019
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Impacts of Linear Infrastructures on Wildlife)
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Abstract

Roads can affect animals as well as their habits at different levels. Avoidance behavior is a common response of animals to this type of perturbation, preventing access to areas rich in resources. The effects of roads on ungulates have not been studied in South America extensively, especially in arid environments. We have studied the space use by ungulates in relation to roads, using a dung heap count and camera traps. The aim was to evaluate whether paved road and unpaved road may have an effect on the spatial use of a low density population of guanacos (Lama guanicoe) in Ischigualasto Provincial Park, Argentina. We observed an increase in dung heap abundance in unpaved road as respect to paved road, this difference was larger for both. Besides, we recorded less individuals in paved road zones than in unpaved road zones. This showed that roads, especially paved roads, negatively affect the space used by guanacos. Our results are relevant to the management and conservation of animal populations in protected areas since spatial segregation due to the presence of roads may lead to the isolation of individuals. It is important to pay attention and further assess the effects that roads can have in the native fauna. View Full-Text
Keywords: avoidance behavior; camera trap; dung heap count; Lama guanicoe; roads avoidance behavior; camera trap; dung heap count; Lama guanicoe; roads
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Cappa, F.M.; Borghi, C.E.; Giannoni, S.M. How Roads Affect the Spatial Use of the Guanaco in a South American Protected Area: Human Connectivity vs Animal Welfare. Diversity 2019, 11, 110.

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