Studies of the pampas deer in the province of Corrientes demonstrate that they currently occupy a stretch of grasslands between the sand banks that border the Iberá Wetlands and the swamps of Aguapey. Unfortunately, the Forestry Industry has chosen this area as a key location for exotic pine tree plantations, which cause rapid degradation of the natural habitat of pampas deer. In other parts of the deer’s former range, the presence of dogs and large populations of cattle have frightened the deer away. Some areas also still permit limited hunting of the animal, despite its protected status.
If the destruction of the pampas deer’s habitat is allowed to continue unchecked as it has in recent history, we may witness the complete extirpation of the species in Corrientes sooner than one might think. This wouldn’t be the first time that something like this has occurred in the province. Towards the end of the last century, a population of pampas deer close to Concepción disappeared due to the establishment of new Pine and Eucalyptus plantations on their native habitat.
Map of the distribution of pampas deer in Corrientes which shows the rapid advance of pine plantations
What are the objectives of our project?
Our project combines in-situ conservation of the established populations of pampas deer in the zone of Aguapey, as well as restoration of the deer to its original distribution within the Iberá Reserve. In the first case, the object is to secure the permanence of a stable population of deer within its current range. The objective of the second case is to establish a population of pampas deer within the Iberá Provincial Reserve that will increase the distribution of the species in the Corrientes Province, and help to secure its long term survival in Argentina.
How do we work?
The objectives, actions, methodologies, and time frames related to the restoration of this species in Corrientes are detailed in "Project of Conservation, Rescue, and Restoration of the Pampas Deer in the Province of Corrientes" (open document), developed by the CLT and Argentina Flora and Fauna in collaboration with and authorized by the Department of Natural Resources of Corrientes.
Since 2006 we have been taking periodic censuses to estimate the distribution and abundance of the species in the region of Aguapey. Simultaneously, we have developed promotional activities, arranged meetings with cattle ranch owners and personnel, designed and distributed pamphlets, poster, almanacs, and educational DVDS, and have even put on a kid-friendly puppet show.
With the help of Argentina Flora and Fauna, we established a 535-hectare reserve dedicated to the conservation and proliferation of the pampas deer. The reserve has been named Guasutí Ñu, or Land of Deer in the native language of Guaraní. This is the first protected area dedicated solely to the conservation of pampas deer in the region of Aguapey.
In 2009 a team of veterinarians and biologists from Argentina and Brazil completed the first capture and translocation of pampas deer in Corrientes. This served to restore a population of the species in the San Alonso reserve, a 10,000-hectare stretch of high quality grasslands. San Alonso, property of the Conservation Land Trust, is located inside the Iberá Natural Reserve. The population of deer here in San Alonso is the fifth known population of the species in the country. With the addition of San Alonso to the country’s protected lands, the area dedicated to strict conservation in Argentina has quadrupled.