Overview

Brief Summary

Biology

Stalking though the thick vegetation of its forest habitat, this secretive predator feeds on a variety of birds, including domestic geese and chickens, and also consumes rodents and small lizards (2) (4). Although it hunts its prey on the ground, the kodkod is an excellent climber (2), and will climb trees when escaping the pursuit of a predator or to take temporary shelter in the branches (4). The kodkod is primarily a nocturnal cat, although it can also be active during the day (2) (4), and it spends its periods of rest in dense vegetation, often hidden amongst almost impenetrable bamboo (2). Male kodkods occupy large areas, which overlap the smaller ranges of one or more females (2). Female kodkods give birth to litters of one to four young, after a gestation of 72 to 78 days. These small cats are thought to live for up to 11 years (4).
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Description

This secretive cat is the size of a tiny house cat, earning itself the distinction of being one of the smallest cats in the southern hemisphere, joined only by the oncilla (Leopardus tigrinus) (2). Its diminutive body is covered with buff to greyish-brown fur, heavily patterned with small black spots that sometimes form broken streaks on the head and neck (2) (4). Its small head bears low-set ears, the backs of which are black with a white spot in the centre. The short tail is bushy and marked with narrow, black bands (2), and the rather large feet hint at this cat's proficient climbing abilities (4).
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Kodkod, guiña or Chiean cat (Leopardus guigna)

The kodkod is the size of a tiny house cat but has a smaller head and shorter, thicker tail relative to its large feet and claws, which help it climb trees (4,12). It is one of the smallest cats in the Americas, joined only by the oncilla (2,10). It weighs 1.5-3 kg (10). The body is 40-52 cm and the tail19-25 cm long(11). The sexes look alike. The body is covered with buff to greyish- or reddish-brown fur, heavily patterned with small black spots that may form broken streaks on the head and neck and pale undersides and sides (2,4,10,13). Its small head has low-set ears, the backs of which are black, often with a white eyespot in the centre (10). The short, bushy tail is marked with narrow, black bands (2) and the large feet aid its proficient climbing abilities (4). Melanistic, or darker colored, kodkods are not uncommon and their stripes and spots are often detectable in bright light (4). The kodkod looks similar to Geoffroy's cat, but has less distinct stripes on its head and shoulder regions and has a have thicker tail (4). The kodkod has the the smallest distribution of any New World cat. It occurs in central and southern Chile, including the islands of Chiloé and the Guaitecas Archipelago and marginally in a small region on the eastern slopes of the Andes in western Argentina (2,7). It is the only small felid to occur over most of its range, although on the eastern limit, in Argentina, it is sympatric with the Geoffroy’s cat (8). Its area of occupancy is fragmented due to loss of its native temperate forest habitat; Acosta-Jamett et al. (9) estimated that there were 24 separate subpopulations in central Chile. The kodkod tends to live in evergreen temperate rainforests, deciduous temperate moist forests, sclerophyllous scrub and coniferous forestsand on mountains from 50-2,500 m (2,4,13). It is somewhat tolerant of disturbance, as it can be found in primary and secondary forest and scrub and the outskirts of settled and cultivated areas (3,13). It is often seen in Chilean Valdivian and Araucaria forests, which include altitudes of 1,900-2,500 m, complex multi-layered structures with bamboo, lianas, and epiphytes (2,5). It also lives in Argentinian moist montane forests with bamboo, lianas, and epiphytes (3,13). The presence of primary forest corridors is likely an important component of its long term persistence in human dominated landscape (7,9,14).
In southern Chile, where the kodkod lives in beech Nothofagus forest, Freer (15) found that it prefers areas of dense shrubby understory (thicket-forest) over primary forest.

Males occupy large areas, which overlap the smaller ranges of one or more females (2). On Chiloe Island, in a largely agricultural landscape, Sanderson et al. (7) found home ranges of 6.5 km² for males and 1.2 km² for females. Freer (15) reported smaller home ranges (MCP95) of 1.3 km² for males and 1 km² for females from two national parks in southern Chile. The kodkod is terrestrial and arboreal. It hunts prey on the ground, but it is an excellent climber (2) and climbs trees when escaping a pursuing predator or to take temporary shelter in the branches (4). It is primarily nocturnal, but can also be active during the day (2,4) and rests in dense vegetation, often hidden amongst almost impenetrable bamboo (2). Like most small cats, it has excellent senses of vision, hearing and smell. It probably uses chemical cues in communication as well as vocalizations, body postures and tactile cues.

This secretive predator stalks through thick vegetation and feeds on various birds, including domestic geese and chickens, and also consumes small rodents, insects and small lizards and other small reptiles (2,4,10). Kodkods in southern Chile feed mainly on rodents and other small mammals, but often take birds. They scavenge opportunistically on carrion (15). Predators of kodkods include humans and domestic dogs (6). Kodkods are cryptically coloured and secretive and avoid most predators. The larger home ranges of males may indicate that they range widely in search of multiple mates. Females give birth to litters of 1-4 young, after a gestation of 72-78 days (4). Like other small cats, the females probably provide the only parental care. They invest significantly in gestation and lactation and may provide extended care for the young, protecting them and teaching them to hunt before they become independent. The kodkod reaches sexual maturity at about 24 months (10) and may live up to 11 years in the wild (4), but a wild caught specimen was about 14.3 years when it died in captivity (1).
The kodkod is rare. Farmers may kill kodkods that take domestic poultry (10), but kodkods help control rodent populations (13).
There are two subspecies: L.g. tigrillo and L.g. guigna. The former lives in southern Patagonia and has a paler coat colour without spot markings on the feet (13).L.g. guigna lives in central Chile and has a smaller body, brighter colours and spot markings on the feet (13).<

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Distribution

Range

The kodkod is found only in Chile and Argentina. It occurs in the central and southern regions of Chile, including the islands of Chiloé and the Guaitecas Archipelago, and in a small region on the eastern slopes of the Andes in Argentina (2).
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Range Description

The Guia, the smallest felid in the Americas, also has the smallest distribution, being found primarily in central and southern Chile(30-48S)and marginally in adjoining areas of southwestern Argentina (39-46S west of 70W) from sea level to 2,500 meters. Its extent of occurrence is estimated at approximately300,000 km2. The Guia occurs over most of its range, butits area of occupancy is fragmented due to loss of its native temperate forest habitat.A metapopulation approach estimated that there were 24 separate subpopulations in central Chile (Acosta-Jamettet al.2003). On the eastern limit of the range, in Argentina, it is sympatric with the Geoffroys Cat (Lucheriniet al.2001). It is also found on the large island of Chiloe off the coast of southern Chile (Sandersonet al.2002).

Two subspecies are recognized based on morphological and genetic data:L. guigna tigrillo(from 30-38S in Chile) inhabits mediterranean matorral and sclerophyll woodlands and forests in northern and central Chile and has a lighter coat and larger body size.L. guigna guigna(from 38-48 in Chile and 39-46S in Argentina west of 70W) inhabits more-dense Valdivian temperate rainforest and north Patagonian forest in southern Chile and the Andean Patagonian forest in southwestern Argentina and is darker and smaller (Napolitano et al. 2014).

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Leopardus guigna is also known as the kodkod, guigna, or Chilean cat. It can be found in central and southern Chile, Chiloé Island of Chile, Guaitecas Island of Chile, the Andes Mountains, and western Argentina.

Biogeographic Regions: neotropical (Native )

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Physical Description

Morphology

Leopardus guigna is the smallest cat species in the Western Hemisphere, averaging no larger than a typical house cat Felis catus (Postanowicz, 2008). They weigh between 1.5 and 3 kg (Postanowicz, 2008). Kodkods have body lengths from 40 to 52 centimeters, with tail length between 19 and 25 centimeters (Nowak, Kays, and Macdonald, 2005). They have smaller heads and shorter, thicker tails relative to their large feet and claws, which help them to climb trees (Kodkod and Chilean cat, 2009).  The main fur color is gray brown or reddish brown, with dark spots, stripes on their tails and dorsal sides, and pale-colored venter and sides (The World Conservation Union, 1996; Postanowicz, 2008). Some kodkods have eyespots on the backs of their ears because of their characteristic black on white fur markings (Postanowicz, 2008). Melanistic, or darker colored, kodkods are not uncommon and their stripes and spots are often detectable in bright light (Sunquist and Sunquist, 2002). They are similar in appearance to Geoffroy's cats (Leopardus geoffroyi) except kodkods have less distinct stripes on their head and shoulder regions and they have thicker tails (Sunquist and Sunquist, 2002).

There are two subspecies: Leopardus guigna tigrillo and Leopardus guigna guigna. Leopardus g. tigrillo is found in the southern Patagonia region and can be identified by its overall paler coat color without spot markings on the feet (The World Conservation Union, 1996). Leopardus g. guigna is found in central Chile and can be recognized by its smaller body size, brighter colors, and spot markings on the feet (The World Conservation Union, 1996).

Range mass: 1.5 to 3 kg.

Average mass: 2.2 kg.

Range length: 40 to 52 cm.

Other Physical Features: endothermic ; homoiothermic; bilateral symmetry

Sexual Dimorphism: sexes alike

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Ecology

Habitat

Habitat and Ecology

Habitat and Ecology
Vegetation cover is an important ecological requirement for Guia, as it typically occurs in forest types with heavy understorey, probably used for dispersion, stalking prey and reproduction. In its northern range, the species is found associated to Mediterranean Matorralcomposed ofsclerophyllforest and thicket.In its southern range, the species is strongly associated with moist temperate mixed forests of the southern Andean and Coastal ranges, particularly the Valdivian and Araucaria forests of Chile, which are characterized by the presence of Southern Beech (Nothofagusspp.) and bamboo in the understorey.In Argentina, the species has been recorded in moist montane forest which has Valdivian characteristics, including a multi-layered structure with bamboo, numerous lianas and epiphytes (Nowell and Jackson 1996, Lucherini et al. 2000).

Guias are relatively tolerant to altered habitats, being found also in secondary forest, exotic pine and eucalyptus plantations, fragmented landscapes and on the fringes of rural settlements and agricultural areas (Sanderson et al. 2002, Acosta-Jamett and Simonetti 2004). In central Chile,guia densities were lower in exotic pine plantations compared to primary native forest, and plantations were only used when close to native primary forests or regeneration understorey (Acosta-Jamett and Simonetti 2004).In southern Chile, where it is found in beech Nothofagus forest, Freer (2004) found that areas of dense shrubby understorey (thicket-forest) were preferred over primary forest.In the highly modified human agricultural landscapes of northen Chilo Island, Guias exclusively use vegetation corridors (as small as 3 m wide) to move among forest fragments, avoiding open areas (pastures with vegetation <0.4-m high) (Sanderson et al. 2002). The presence of these corridors is important to connect larger habitat areas, and is likely an important component of the species long-term persistence in human dominated landscapes (Sandersonet al.2002, Acosta-Jamettet al.2003, Acosta-Jamett and Simonetti 2007).Along with vegetation corridors, safe road crossing elements such as culverts, overpasses and underpasses are also important to favour Guia connectivity in fragmented landscapes (Sanderson et al. 2002).

Guias display facultative, differential home range size, dispersal range and spatial overlap in relation to landscape features (Napolitano 2012, Napolitano et al. submitted).In fragmented landscapes,home ranges are larger than in pristine areas and thus, density is lower. Home range size of Guiasin the highly modified, fragmented landscape of northern Chilo Island was 1.3-22.4 km2(Sanderson et al. 2002), while intwo pristine protected areas in the Aysn Region (Laguna San Rafael and Queulat National Parks) was 0.3-2.2 km2(Dunstone et al. 2002). Maximum dispersal distances of Guias in fragmented landscapes was13.9 km (mean=5.54.9) (Sanderson et al. 2002), while in protected areas was1.83 km (mean=1.490.25) (Dunstone et al. 2002). Regarding spatial overlap, in fragmented landscapes Guias displayed exclusive intrasexual home ranges(females can be found within the range of males) (Sanderson et al. 2002), while in protected areas extensive overlap of home ranges and core areas was observed (Dunstone et al. 2002).

Guias are agile hunters and mainly hunt on the ground. They fed primarily on small mammals, especially rodents, but also small marsupials, birds and reptiles are frequently taken (Correa and Roa 2005). They scavenge opportunistically on carrion (Freer 2004).

Systems
  • Terrestrial
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Kodkods are terrestrial and arboreal, dwelling in moist temperate forests, particularly in coastal regions like the islands of Chile. The types of forest where they are traditionally found include evergreen temperate rainforests, deciduous temperate moist forests, sclerophyllous scrub, and coniferous forests (The World Conservation Union, 1996). Kodkods are somewhat tolerant of disturbance, as they can be found in primary forest and secondary forest and scrub, as well as on the outskirts of cultivated areas (The World Conservation Union, 1996). They are commonly observed in Chilean Valdivian and Araucaria forests. Characteristics of these forest habitats include altitudes between 1,900 and 2,500 meters, complex canopy layers, bamboo, lianas, and epiphytes (Acosta and Luch, 2008). Additionally, kodkods are found in Argentinian moist montane forests, which also have bamboo, lianas, and epiphytes (The World Conservation Union, 1996).

Range elevation: 50 to 2,500 m.

Habitat Regions: temperate ; terrestrial

Terrestrial Biomes: forest ; rainforest ; scrub forest ; mountains

Other Habitat Features: agricultural

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A forest-dwelling cat, the kodkod inhabits the moist, montane forests of the southern Andes, generally at elevations below 2,000 metres (2) (4).
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Trophic Strategy

Kodkods are carnivorous, eating mainly small rodents, reptiles, birds, and large insects (Kodkod, 2009; Postanowicz, 2008; The World Conservation Union, 1996). Observed prey species include Norwegian rats (Rattus norvegicus), Austral thrushes (Turdus falcklandii), southern lapwings (Vanellus chilensis), chucao tapaculos (Scelorchilus rubecula), huet-huets (Pteroptochos tarnii), geese (Anser anser), chickens (Gallus gallus), and Chiloé lizards (Liolaemus pictus chiloeensis) (Sunquist, and Sunquist, 2002). They sometime prey on domestic poultry, bringing themselves into direct conflict with humans, often resulting in farmers killing kodkods (Postanowicz, 2008).

Animal Foods: birds; mammals; reptiles; insects

Primary Diet: carnivore (Eats terrestrial vertebrates)

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Associations

Although more studies are necessary, research suggest kodkods help to control rodent populations (The World Conservation Union, 1996).

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Known predators of kodkods include humans and domestic dogs (Lucherini and Merino, 2008). Kodkods are cryptically colored and secretive, avoiding most predators.

Known Predators:

  • humans (Homo sapiens)
  • domestic dogs (Canis lupus)

Anti-predator Adaptations: cryptic

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Life History and Behavior

Behavior

Due to the rare and secretive nature of kodkods, there is little information regarding communication and perception. Like most small cats, kodkods have excellent vision, hearing, and sense of smell. They are likely to use chemical cues in communication as well as vocalizations, body postures, and tactile cues.

Perception Channels: visual ; tactile ; acoustic ; chemical

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Life Expectancy

Kodkods can reach 11 years old in the wild.

Typical lifespan

Status: wild:
11 (high) years.

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Lifespan, longevity, and ageing

Observations: Little is known about the longevity of these animals, but one wild caught specimen was about 14.3 years when it died in captivity (Richard Weigl 2005).
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Reproduction

There is minimal information about the mating systems of kodkods because of their rarity. The larger home ranges of males may indicate that they range widely in search of multiple mates.

Kodkods have litter sizes that range between 1 and 4 offspring (Sunquist and Sunquist, 2002). They have a gestation period between 72 to 78 days. Breeding interval and seasonality have not been reported. Sexual maturity is reached at approximately 24 months for both males and females (Postanowicz, 2008).

Breeding interval: Breeding interval has not been reported.

Breeding season: Breeding seasonality has not been reported.

Range number of offspring: 1 to 4.

Range gestation period: 72 to 78 days.

Average age at sexual or reproductive maturity (female): 24 months.

Average age at sexual or reproductive maturity (male): 24 months.

Key Reproductive Features: iteroparous ; gonochoric/gonochoristic/dioecious (sexes separate); sexual ; viviparous

There is minimal information on parental investment in kodkods. Like other small cats, kodkod females are likely to provide the only parental care. They invest significantly in gestation and lactation and may provide extended care for the young, teaching them to hunt before they become independent.

Parental Investment: altricial ; pre-fertilization (Provisioning, Protecting: Female); pre-hatching/birth (Provisioning: Female, Protecting: Female); pre-weaning/fledging (Provisioning: Female, Protecting: Female); pre-independence (Provisioning: Female, Protecting: Female)

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Conservation

Conservation Status

IUCN Red List Assessment


Red List Category
VU
Vulnerable

Red List Criteria
A2abc; C2a(i)

Version
3.1

Year Assessed
2015

Assessor/s
Napolitano, C., Glvez, N., Bennett, M., Acosta-Jamett, G. & Sanderson, J.

Reviewer/s
Nowell, K., Hunter, L., Schipper, J., Breitenmoser-Wrsten, C., Lanz, T. & Breitenmoser, U.

Contributor/s
Lucherini, M.

Justification

Relative to Neotropical cats and felids in general, the tiny Guia has a restricted extent of occurrence (300,000 km). Most of the species area of occupancy is suffering from increasinglandscape fragmentation due to logging, habitat conversion to pine plantations, agricultural and livestock activities. An annual forest loss rate of 4.5% per year (67% reduction of total forest area)for the period 1975-2000 was estimated for Chilean temperate rainforests. Future trends predict similar forest loss rates for the period 2010-2020. Given that vegetation cover is one of the most important ecological requirements for Guias, there is an evident threat through ongoing habitat deterioration and reduction. Evidence suggests landscape fragmentation is associated to reduced genetic diversity and population size decline. Also,various Guia subpopulations may be going through a current size reduction, as inferred by a pattern of Ne >> N (bottleneck). Retaliatory killings for poultry predationand road kills are frequent death causes in fragmented landscapes, decreasing Guia population numbers.In fragmented landscapes, Guia home ranges are larger than in pristine areas and density is lower.Emerging diseasesfacilitated byincreased contact probabilities with domestic cats in fragmented landscapes, along withclimate change may also constitute important potential threats for Guias.Based on the best supporting evidence, this species qualifies for Vulnerable under criteria A2abc. Index of abundance used to apply Criteria A2a is based on DNA samples, camera-trapping and radio-tracking data.Index of abundance used to apply Criteria A2b followed databased on multiple lines of evidence as mentioned above. Data used to apply Criteria A2c is based on the decline in area of occupancy (AOO) and habitat quality as estimated on the annual forest loss rate of 4.5% per year for the period 1975-2000. Based on this estimate, a population decline of at least 30% is suspectedin the pastover three generations (18 years).We used realistic input data to estimate plausible lower and upper bounds for the total number of mature individuals,which range from5,980 to 92,092. Following the Red List Guidelines, we used aprecautionary approach by considering the lower bound estimates. In the case of total number of mature individuals, the lower bound is <10,000 individuals. Foreach subpopulation, four of the six geographic groups have 1,000 mature individuals. Based on the best supporting evidence, this species qualifies for Vulnerable under criteriaC2a(i). However,if we use the higher population bounds, two of the six geographic groups with >1,000 estimated mature individuals, or if the rate of decline is lower than suspected, Near Threatened may also be a possible category for Guia.


History
  • 2008
    Vulnerable (VU)
  • 2002
    Vulnerable (VU)
  • 1996
    Vulnerable (VU)
  • 1994
    Indeterminate (I)
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Kodkod populations are declining, especially in central Chile. They are listed as vulnerable by the IUCN and are on the CITES Appendix II list (Kodkod and Chilean cat, 2009). They are threatened by domestic dogs and hunting by humans, and habitat fragmentation and loss due to deforestation. Their main threat is fragmentation and destruction of their preferred habitat, temperate moist forests (Acosta and Lucherini, 2008). Human sentiment towards kodkods in rural areas is generally negative. Education, awareness, and stricter law enforcement are needed to improve human attitudes towards kodkods and their protection (Silva-Rodgrquez, Ortega-Solis, and Jimenez, 2001). There are laws in place to protect kodkods and other small cats from hunters, but only in some areas and enforcement is generally weak (Lucherini and Merino, 2008). Fortunately, kodkods are relatively tolerant of disturbed habitats, which is reflected in their current conservation status as vulnerable rather than critically endangered.

US Federal List: no special status

CITES: appendix ii

IUCN Red List of Threatened Species: vulnerable

  • Acosta-Jamett, G., J. A. Simonetti, R. O. Bustamante, N. Dunstone. 2003. Metapopulation approach to assess survival of Oncifelis guigna in fragmented forests of central Chille: A theoretical model. Journal of Neotropical Mammalogy, 10/2: 217-229.
  • Acosta-Jamett, G., J. Simonetti. 2004. Habitat use by Oncifelis guigna and Pseudalopex culpaeus in a fragmented forest landscape in central Chile. Biodiversity and Conservation, 13: 1135-1151.
  • Guerrero, C., L. Espinoza, H. Niemeyer, J. Simonetti. 2006. Using fecal profiles of bile acids to assess habitat use by threatened carnivores in the Maulino forest of central Chile. Revista Chilena de Historia Natural, 79: 89-95.
  • Silva-Rodgrquez, E., G. Ortega-Solis, J. Jimenez. 2001. "Human Attitudes Toward Wild Felids in a Human-dominated Landscape of Southern Chile" (On-line). International Society for Endangered Cats (ISEC) Canada. Accessed April 11, 2009 at http://www.wildcatconservation.org/Human_Attitudes_Towards_Wild_Cats_In_Chile.html.
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Status

Classified as Vulnerable (VU) on the IUCN Red List 2007 (1) and listed on Appendix II of CITES (3).
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Population

Population
The total number of mature individuals inhabiting the distribution range was estimated. Given that most geographic areas throughout Guia range are suffering from habitat loss and fragmentation, we followed a precautionary but realistic approach and used density estimates for fragmented landscapes (0.77-0.05 individuals/km2). Using total surface area for each geographic group, we assumed exclusive home ranges, 80% of total area occupied (excluding urban areas, water bodies and wetlands) and 50% of the population being mature individuals.

Density estimates include:
  • Fragmented landscape in Chilo Island, Chile: 0.77-0.05 individuals/km2 (Sanderson et al. 2002)
  • Pristine landscape in Laguna San Rafael and Queulat National Parks, Chile: 3.3-0.45 individuals/km2 (Dunstone et al. 2002).

Number of mature individuals estimated for each geographic group (lower and upper bounds):
Northern group: 1,600-24,640 mature individuals
Central group: 1,000-15,400 mature individuals
Lake District group: 1,800-27,720 mature individuals
Chilo Island group: 180-2,772 mature individuals
Argentinian group: 1,000-15,400 mature individuals
Laguna San Rafael group: 400-6,160 mature individuals
Total number of mature individuals: 5,980- 92,092 (lower bound <10,000 individuals).

Population Trend
Decreasing
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Threats

Major Threats
Current main threats for guias include habitat loss and fragmentation, and direct persecution by humans.

Human population and deforestation are increasing in the Chilean temperate rainforest; In the northernmost part of its range, Guias inhabit the Chilean Matorral ecosystem, where more than half of the countrys total human population live and which has been dramatically reduced by habitat conversion to agricultural lands, leading to local extinctions and population fragmentation. Central and Lake District populations are suffering from extensive and intensive habitat loss and fragmentation by habitat conversion topine plantations andlogging of the remnant temperate Valdivian rainforest (Willson et al. 2005, Echeverra et al. 2006, 2008).On Chilo Island, native forests have been largely cleared and fragmented over large areas to support domestic fowl, grazing and farming, leaving only remnants of the original forest surrounded by a human-modified matrix (Armesto et al. 1998, Sanderson et al. 2002).In its southernmost range, human density is lower, there is a greater amount of forest cover and agricultural lands are more frequently surrounded by a concentration of protected areas. An annual forest loss rate of 4.5% per yearwas estimatedfor the period 1975-2000in Chilean temperate rainforests(equivalent to 67% reduction of total forest area) (Echeverra et al. 2006).These trends have not ceased and will continue into the future.Future trends predict similar forest loss rates for the period 2010-2020 (Echeverra et al. 2008).Due to its restricted distribution and ecological requirements, the Guia is especially vulnerable to increasing trends of habitat loss and fragmentation.

Evidence suggests that increased landscape fragmentationis associated with reduced genetic diversityin Guias(Napolitano et al. submitted). Small population size would be the major force driving the decrease in genetic diversity of Guias inhabiting fragmented landscapes (e.g., low carrying capacity, local extinctions, road kills). This scenario is also supported by apattern of Ne >> N found in various subpopulations throughout Guia distribution range, showing they may be going through a current size reduction (i.e., genetic bottleneck) (Napolitano et al. 2014).

On the other hand, most people in rural landscapes of central and southern Chile have negative attitudes towards Guias, arguing livestock and poultry losses (Herrmann et al. 2013,Zorondo-Rodrguez et al. 2014).81.4% of 43 families interviewed in a rural area of southern Chile considered Guias damaging" or "very damaging, although there was only a single recent report of a Guia killing 12 hens in a henhouse (Silva-Rodrguezet al.2007). Illegal killing as retaliation for poultry depredation is the most likely outcome when a Guia is caught within a chicken coup. On Chiloe Island, two out of seven radio-collared Guias were killed while raiding chicken coops (Sandersonet al.2002).Retaliatory killings for poultry depredation accounted for 39.4% of the total 38 Guia samples collected during a three-year study in Chilo Island (Napolitano 2012, Napolitano et al. submitted).

Guias also get killed by dogs and cars. Road kills are a major death cause, specially in fragmented landscapes, where they accounted for 29% of the total 38 Guia samples collected during a three-year study in Chilo Island (Napolitano 2012, Napolitano et al. submitted).

Other threats include diseases and climate change; Feline Immunodeficiency Virus (FIV) and Feline Leukemia Virus (FeLV) infection was recorded in Guias and sympatric domestic cats in human perturbed landscapes on Chilo Island, suggesting a possible interspecies transmission facilitated by increased contact probability through human invasion into natural habitats, habitat fragmentation and poultry attacks (Mora et al. in press). On the other hand, climate change is also an important potential threat for Guias. It has been showed that the distribution range of Guias in Chile will decrease under climate change scenarios (Marquet et al. 2010).
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The kodkod is most threatened in central Chile, where forest habitat has been cleared for agriculture and logging, resulting in a decline in kodkod numbers (4). Elsewhere, the kodkod's habitat is less threatened; for example, the forests in the southern part of its range are well protected and less inhabited by humans (4). However, hunting poses a threat in all areas. Fur of the kodkod has been seen for sale in local markets and in some areas the kodkod may be killed in the belief it attacks poultry and livestock (2).
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Management

Conservation Actions

Conservation Actions
Included in CITES Appendix II and protected by national legislation in Argentina and Chile (Nowell and Jackson 1996).

Using a broad approach for population distinctiveness based on genetic and ecological exchangeability (Crandall et al. 2000),two management units were proposed for the conservation of Guias, which correspond to the two identified subspecies(Napolitano et al. 2014). Within these management units five genetic groups were identified, displaying significant variation on patterns of genetic diversity, biogeographic history and conservation threats among them.

Guias are recorded in 16 protected areas in Chile, but many are too small to support viable populations (Acosta-Jammettet al. 2003). In Argentina, it is known from three national parks: Lanin, Nahuel Huapi and Los Alerces (Nowell and Jackson 1996), although densities may be low. The spatial extent of protected areas alone is not enough for the long-term viability of Guia populations, thus incorporating private lands outside protected areas is crucial for Guia conservation (Simonetti and Acosta-Jamett 2002, Acosta-Jamett et al. 2003, Haines et al. 2006, Glvez et al. 2013). This depends heavily on positive perceptions and attitudes of land owners and rural people towards Guias (Silva-Rodrguez et al. 2007, Herrmann et al. 2013). Future conservation challenges for Guias outside protected areas will hinge on fostering positive attitudes of land owners towards Guias, increasing local awareness and participation to reduce conflict in areas where they are considered poultry pests, improving chicken coops and highlighting the services provided by its role as controller of mice carriers of Hanta virus and exotic European Hares (Lepus europaeus) (Silva-Rodriguez et al. 2007, Glvez et al. 2013, Napolitano et al. 2014).

Conservation efforts should focus onpreserving vegetation corridors to facilitate connectivity between forest fragments or larger forested areas, along with providing safe road passages to decrease mortality by road kills (Dunstone et al. 2002, Sanderson et al. 2002, Glvez et al. 2013). Vegetation corridors are essential to maintain viable Guia populations for their long-term survivalin increasingly fragmented landscapes.

Further studies are required on the species ecology, demographics, natural history, and threats (IUCN Cats Red List workshop 2007). Priorities should be aimed at understanding the level of habitat loss and fragmentation at which the survival of the species is at risk. Regarding diseases, future studies should include elucidating the potential pathological effect and emerging disease riskFeline Immunodeficiency Virus (FIV) and Feline Leukemia Virus (FeLV)infections may have for Guia populations.



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Conservation

The kodkod is fully protected in Argentina and Chile, and also occurs in a number of protected areas including Nahuel Huapi National Park in Argentina (4) and Nahuelbuta National Park in Chile (5).
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Relevance to Humans and Ecosystems

Benefits

Kodkods have been known to occasionally prey on domestic poultry.

Negative Impacts: crop pest

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Kodkods have been hunted for their fur. However, their small body size makes them less popular among hunters (Postanowicz, 2008). In rural areas kodkod pelts are still found displayed as trophies. Kodkods may help to control rodent populations, which decreases rodent depredation on crops and rodent population outbreaks that spread disease (The World Conservation Union, 1996).

Positive Impacts: body parts are source of valuable material; controls pest population

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Wikipedia

Kodkod

The kodkod (Leopardus guigna) (Spanish pronunciation: [koðˈkoð]), also called güiña, is the smallest cat in the Americas. It lives primarily in central and southern Chile and marginally in adjoining areas of Argentina. Its area of distribution is small compared to the other South-American cats. In 2002, the IUCN classified the kodkod as Vulnerable as the total effective population size may be fewer than 10,000 mature individuals, with a declining trend due to habitat and prey base loss and persecution, and no subpopulation having an effective population size larger than 1,000 mature breeding individuals.[2]

Characteristics[edit]

The kodkod has a small head, large feet, and a thick tail. An adult weighs 2 to 2.5 kilograms (4.4 to 5.5 lb),[3] with a typical length of 37 to 51 centimetres (15 to 20 in), a short 20 to 25 centimetres (7.9 to 9.8 in) tail, and a shoulder height of about 25 centimetres (9.8 in).[4]

The coat has a base color ranging from brownish-yellow to grey-brown. The body is decorated with dark spots, with a pale underside and a ringed tail. The ears are black with a white spot, while the dark spots on the shoulders and neck almost merge to form a series of dotted streaks. Melanistic kodkods with spotted black coats are quite common.[4]

Distribution and habitat[edit]

Kodkods are strongly associated with mixed temperate rainforests of the southern Andean and coastal ranges, particularly the Valdivian and Araucaria forests of Chile, which is characterized by the presence of bamboo in the understory. They prefer evergreen temperate rainforest habitats to deciduous temperate moist forests, sclerophyllous scrub and coniferous forests. They are tolerant of altered habitats, being found in secondary forest and shrub as well as primary forest, and on the fringes of settled and cultivated areas.[3]

They range up to the treeline at approximately 1,900 m (6,200 ft).[5] In Argentina, they have been recorded from moist montane forest, which has Valdivian characteristics, including a multi-layered structure with bamboo, and numerous lianas and epiphytes.[6]

Ecology and behavior[edit]

Kodkods are equally active during the day as during the night, although they only venture into open terrain under the cover of darkness. During the day, they rest in dense vegetation in ravines, along streams with heavy cover, and in piles of dead gorse. They are excellent climbers, and easily able to climb trees more than a meter in diameter. They are terrestrial predators of birds, lizards and rodents in the ravines and forested areas, feeding on southern lapwing, austral thrush, chucao tapaculo, huet-huet, domestic geese and chicken.[4]

Male kodkods maintain exclusive territories 1.1 to 2.5 square kilometres (0.42 to 0.97 sq mi) in size, while females occupy smaller ranges of just 0.5 to 0.7 square kilometres (0.19 to 0.27 sq mi).[4]

Reproduction[edit]

The gestation period lasts about 72–78 days. The average litter size is one to three kittens. This species may live to be about 11 years old.[3]

Threats[edit]

The major threat to the kodkod is logging of its temperate moist forest habitat, and the spread of pine forest plantations and agriculture, particularly in central Chile.[3] In 1997 to 1998, two out of five radio-collared kodkods were killed on Chiloe Island while raiding chicken coops.[7]

Taxonomy[edit]

There are two known subspecies of this cat:[1]

  • Leopardus guigna guigna - Southern Chile and Argentina
  • Leopardus guigna tigrillo - Central Chile

The kodkod was formerly considered a member of the genus Oncifelis, which consisted of three small feline species native to South America. All of these species have been moved into the genus Leopardus. Along with the kodkod, the former members of Oncifelis were the colocolo and Geoffroy's cat.

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Wozencraft, W. C. (2005). "Order Carnivora". In Wilson, D. E.; Reeder, D. M. Mammal Species of the World (3rd ed.). Johns Hopkins University Press. p. 538. ISBN 978-0-8018-8221-0. OCLC 62265494. 
  2. ^ a b Acosta, G., Lucherini, M. (2008). "Leopardus guigna". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2014.3. International Union for Conservation of Nature. 
  3. ^ a b c d Nowell, K., Jackson, P. (1996) Kodkod In: Wild Cats: status survey and conservation action plan. IUCN/SSC Cat Specialist Group, Gland, Switzerland.
  4. ^ a b c d Sunquist, Mel; Sunquist, Fiona (2002). Wild cats of the World. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. pp. 211–214. ISBN 0-226-77999-8. 
  5. ^ Miller, S.D., Rottmann, J. (1976) Guia para el reconocimiento de mamiferos chilenos. [Guide to the recognition of Chilean mammals.] Editora Nacional Gabriela Mistral, Santiago (in Spanish).
  6. ^ Dimitri, M. (1972) [The Andean-Patagonian forest region: general synopsis.] Colección científica del Instituto Nacional de Tecnologia Agropecuaria 10 (in Spanish).
  7. ^ Sanderson, J. G., Sunquist, M. E., Iriarte, A. W. (2002) Natural history and landscape-use of guignas (Oncifelis guigna) on Isla Grande de Chloe, Chile. Journal of Mammalogy 83 (2): 608–613.

External links[edit]

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