Maintenance of Genetic Diversity in an Introduced Island Population of Guanacos after Seven Decades and Two Severe Demographic Bottlenecks: Implications for Camelid Conservation
In reintroduction projects, ethology studies play a significant role in evaluating the behaviour of the individuals in habitats where they are reintroduced. We studied foraging and vigilance time allocation of a guanaco (Lama guanicoe) population reintroduced in Quebrada del Condorito National Park (QCNP), in the central mountains of Córdoba, Argentina. On average, individuals showed a higher proportion of time invested in vigilance and a lower proportion of time invested in foraging than a previously studied guanaco population belonging to the same ecological region as the source population, suggesting that at the time of this study, the reintroduced population was not fully adapted to the new habitat or suffered from an increased predation pressure. On the other hand, as expected for the species, throughout the study period, males allocated more time to vigilance than females, both sexes increasing vigilance during the reproductive period, and females increasing foraging time allocation during the post-reproductive period. Taking into account that further reinforcement to the existing population is planned, the present results may contribute to the elaboration of management strategies aimed at the successful establishment of guanaco in QCNP.