Ecología en Bolivia
versión impresa ISSN 1605-2528
PACHECO, Luis F.; GALLARDO, Giovana y NUNEZ, Angela. Design of a monitoring program for puma and culpeo fox in the Altiplano. Ecología en Bolivia [online]. 2004, vol.39, n.2, pp. 21-32. ISSN 1605-2528.
Monitoring of animal populations often lacks an adequate design that ensures the usefulness of collected data to detect population trends with an acceptable degree of precission. This deficiency may result in the waste of time and money and, even worse, mistakes in the decisions about the conservation and management of particular species. Puma (Puma concolor) and culpeo foxes (Pseudalopex culpaeus) are responsible of considerable economic losses due to predation on livestock in the Bolivian Altiplano. Any decision in relation to the management of this conflict must be linked to an efficient monitoring program of the effects of such management on the populations of those predators. In this paper, we report on the use of a computer simulator to design, based on a pilot field study, a monitoring program for those species, in such way that necessary resources are invested to ensure obtaining enough data to detect population trends for both, culpeo foxes and pumas within the Sajama National Park. Our results suggest that, for pumas, it is necessary to do track counts seven times a year in at least eight plots, each one with at least 18 transects of 2.5 km, (distant 5 km from each other) to reach a power of 80% to detect decreases equivalent to 3% per year during a period of 10 years. Culpeo foxes can be efficiently monitored with the same design, which would additionally allow us to monitor their trends separately for each plot. This design requires a study area larger than the Sajama National Park and, therefore, would be desirable to coordinate efforts with appropriate authorities in order to establish some of the plots within the neighboring Lauca National Park, in Chile.
Palabras llave : Power analysis; Sajama National Park; Altiplano; population trends; track counts; Felis concolor; Pseudalopex culpaeus.