The use of telemetry on study project for Isthmus hare Lepus flavigularis, endangered species.
Lepus flavigularis is considered as the most endangered species of hare in the world.
Throughout this monitoring was possible to record data that had not previously been reported. The use of telemetry equipment was essential.
Text : Arturo Carrillo Reyes and Tamara M. Rioja Paradela
Institutions: El Colegio de la Frontera Sur, Oikos: Conservation and Sustainable Development, AC , University of Science and Arts of Chiapas .
The distribution of endangered hare Lepus flavigularis some years ago covered the western part of southern Chiapas and Oaxaca, Mexico. But various threats have led to fragmentation and reduction of habitat and loss of their populations, particularly in Chiapas. Lepus flavigularis is important from the ecological, evolutionary and food point of view, it is a herbivore whose feeding activity regulates the presence of populations of plants, and is the main prey of predators in its habitat. Therefore, their presence is likely to maintain stable the structure and function of the ecosystem. On the other hand, is the only species of american hare inhabiting tropical zones and represents a potential source of food for local people. It is considered as the most endangered species of hare in the world.
That is why the Colegio de la Frontera Sur, Unit San Cristobal de las Casas , Chiapas, Oikos: Conservation and Sustainable Development, AC, and the National Autonomous University of Mexico, together developed a research project in one of the localities where this species is distributed. This project was supported by the Joint Fund for the Promotion of Scientific and Technological Research CONACyT – Chiapas State Government. The project sought to generate information that would help in developing a management plan for the species, involving local residents and civil authorities.
Among the investigations carried out, there were two in which habitat selection was intended to be defined, as well as register their reproductive behavior for the first time. Both works made around the town of Santa Maria del Mar in Oaxaca.
To collect the data it was necessary to radio tag 60 hares between males and females (60 radio-collars TXE-311CB 30g – 24months – 25kmLOS, 2 receivers and RX-TLNX 4Mhz, and 2 of 3 element Yagi antennas from TELENAX). From the summer of 2005 we began to monitor the animals with radio, beginning with the collection of information. Throughout this monitoring was possible to record data that had not previously been reported. The use of telemetry equipment was essential.
Although the field is characterized by the presence of small hills and mounds of sand which interfere with radio signals, it was always possible to locate hares, placing the direction with good accuracy and even the approximate distance at which they were thanks to the characteristics of the RX-TLNX. It was also highly reliable in cases where the animals were found dead.
In the case of the location of the hare in attitudes of rest or motion, the sensors of activity/inactivity were extremely useful, allowing to plan the next step during surveys directly in the field.
At this time (2013) we are about to start a similar project seeking to determine the effect of livestock on this kind of leporid. Again, we consider the use of this equipment is essential for obtaining reliable data.
Telenax wishes to thank Arturo Carrillo and Tamara Rioja for sharing this article.