Huemul deer (Hippocamelus bisulcus)
Mohamed bin Zayed Species project number 212527473
Reducing threats for the Endangered Huemul deer in Cerro Castillo National Park (CCNP), Chilean Patagonia.
Huemul deer (Hippocamelus bisulcus) is one of the most endangered large land mammals on the IUCN Red List and the southernmost deer in the world. Its population has fallen by 99%, with only 1,500 individuals remaining in the wild, while its distribution area reduced by 50%.
The project aims to control and reduce the multiple threats to the Huemul deer while monitoring its population status in Cerro Castillo National Park (Aysen Region, Chile), which is home to 10% of the global huemul population (150 individuals). The species is currently facing different threats (livestock, presence of exotic species such as wild boar), which are reducing its habitat and health status. The area has also been declared by the Chilean authorities as a priority epidemiological zone, given the presence of diseases transmitted by livestock affecting the long-term survival of this endemic species. The urgency for recovering the huemul from extinction has prompted private-public efforts involving neighbours, institutions related to protected areas, and wildlife management aiming to control threats and incorporate conservation actions within the conservation policies to ensure its long-term permanence.
The conservation actions already in place include:
- Park rangers patrolling to monitor huemul subpopulations and the presence of threats in the national park and buffer areas.
- Reducing and controlling domestic animals entry by regularizing livestock seasonal movement.
- Huemul Health brigades to address infected huemul individuals to improve their health status.
- The installation and operation of a wild boar trap for monitoring, controlling, and reducing wild boar presence in the area and improving huemul habitat.
- Strengthening local capacities and promoting a conservation management plan for long-term results.
The Huemul deer is an indicator of the Patagonian ecosystem's integrity and quality, playing a significant role as a browser and a gardener of the southern beech forests, fulfilling an ecological niche as a large native herbivore. By protecting the huemul and its habitat, we are safeguarding several unique natural interactions and dynamics of these ecosystems, involving endemic flora, fungi, lichens, and fauna.
- How the loss of migratory traditions endangers the huemul deer.
- The scientific journal Ecography published a study highlighting the Huemul deer as one of the 20 species of large mammals that could help restore the planet's largest areas and ecoregions.
Project 212527473 location - Chile, South America