Analyzing efforts for the conservation of the terrestrial carnivores of Argentina
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Because of the great diversity (28 species) and fragile conservation status (57.1% of species are in threat of extinction) of the terrestrial carnivores of Argentina, we aimed to collect information about the conservation efforts in this country and identify tools to improve their effectiveness through expert opinion. Lack of interest by governmental agencies      was the major obstacle for the development of conservation projects in Argentina. However, this factor appears to have evolved positively in the last 5 years. The limited participation of local communities and lack of funds were recognized as additional impediments, which showed variable temporal trends. The inadequacies of the education system and the lack of interdisciplinary approaches represented less important difficulties. Twenty-nine current carnivore conservation projects were recorded in 19 of the 23 Argentinean provinces, with a concentration in Neuquén and some northern provinces. Although 78.6% of the species of native carnivores forms part of at least one project, less than half of them are the focal species of a project. The number of projects per species ranges from 16 (for Puma concolor) to cero (for Pteronura brasiliensis, Lontra felina, Lyncodon patagonicus, Conepatus humboldtii, and Leopardus guigna). Whereas the number of projects/species was not related to a species’ conservation status, we found a positive association between this indicator of conservation effort and body size. We provide suggestions to reduce biases and identify taxonomic and geographic priorities that will enable to improve the use of the limited resources available for the conservation of carnivores in Argentina.
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