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Which is worse for the red-billed curassow: Habitat loss or hunting pressure?

Lookup NU author(s): Professor Philip McGowan



This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (CC BY 4.0).


© Fauna & Flora International 2020. Large ground-dwelling Neotropical gamebirds are highly threatened by habitat loss and hunting, but conservationists rarely attempt to distinguish between these two threats in the management of populations. We used three different types of species records to determine the status (i.e. persistence level) of the Endangered red-billed curassow Crax blumenbachii in 14 forest remnants in north-east Brazil, as either persistent, precarious or extirpated. We related these persistence levels to variables measured in a 2-km buffer radius, including variables associated with habitat quality (proportion of forest cover, length of rivers, patch density, distance from rivers) and hunting pressure (proportion of cacao agroforests and farmlands, length of roads, total area occupied by settlements, distance from roads and from settlements). Curassows were more persistent in forest patches located (1) more distant from settlements, (2) in landscapes with few settlements, (3) in landscapes with a high incidence of roads, (4) in a mosaic with a high proportion of forest, shaded cacao agroforest and farmland, and (5) more distant from other forest patches. Hunting pressure potentially exerts more influence on persistence than habitat quality: (1) hunting pressure submodels had a higher explanatory power than habitat quality submodels, (2) final models comprised four hunting pressure variables but only two habitat quality variables, and (3) hunting pressure variables appeared in all models whereas habitat quality variables appeared in only one final model. If hunting pressure is driving declines in curassows, regions with low human presence and a high proportion of forest cover are recommended for establishing new reserves.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Rios E, McGowan PJK, Collar NJ, Benchimol M, Canale GR, Olmos F, Santos-Filho M, Bernardo CSS

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Oryx

Year: 2021

Volume: 55

Issue: 3

Pages: 412-420

Print publication date: 01/05/2021

Online publication date: 18/03/2020

Acceptance date: 10/06/2019

Date deposited: 04/06/2021

ISSN (print): 0030-6053

ISSN (electronic): 1365-3008

Publisher: Cambridge University Press


DOI: 10.1017/S0030605319000711


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