The Huemul, a species of deer found only in the Latin American region of Patagonia, is bouncing back from the brink of possible extinction as a result of collaboration between conservationists and the Chilean government, says a new study.
By controlling cattle farming and policing to prevent poaching in the Bernardo O'Higgins National Park -- a vast "natural Eden" covering 3.5 million hectares -- conservation efforts have allowed the deer to return to areas of natural habitat from which it had completely disappeared.
Researchers are hailing the findings as an example of collaborations between local government and scientists leading to real conservation success, and a possible model for future efforts to maintain the extraordinary biodiversity found in this part of Chile.
The study by researchers from Cambridge, the Wildlife Conservation Society and CONAF, the Chilean national forestry commission, is released today in the journal Oryx, published by conservation charity Fauna and Flora International.
A national symbol that features on the Chilean coat-of-arms, Huemul deer are estimated to have suffered reductions of 99 per cent in size since the 19th century, according to the International Union for the Conservation of Nature.
Researchers believe 50 per cent of this decline has come in recent years, with only 2,500 deer now left in the wild. More....