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Durham e-Theses
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the spatial ecology off the Guina (Oncifelis guigna) in Southern Chile

Freer, Rachel A. (2004) the spatial ecology off the Guina (Oncifelis guigna) in Southern Chile. Doctoral thesis, Durham University.



This thesis describes the diet, activity, home range and habitat utilisation of guina (Oncifelis guigna) within two populations located inside regions of minimal anthropogenic disturbance in southern Chile. Fieldwork was comprised of several components: guina captured in live traps were fitted with radio collars and monitored on foot using standard radiotelemetry techniques; landcover maps were created for each study area from satellite data, aerial photography and ground truthing, and the relative abundance and diversity of potential small mammal prey were assessed by means of grid-based live-trapping studies and tree-mounted hair-traps. The behavioural data obtained from the radiotelemetry study were analysed using RANGES V to assess the area requirements of the guina and to determine how the home ranges and movements of individuals were distributed with respect to those of conspecifics. This data was also investigated with reference to the landcover maps generated for each site to identify habitat categories that were preferentially utilised or avoided by guina. The diet of this species was determined via faecal analysis. The composition of the guina diet within each site was then related to small mammal relative abundances determined in the field. Small mammals, particularly rodents represented the major component of the guina diet, and no evidence of prey selection was determined. Trapping surveys indicated both sites had abundant prey resources in the form of relatively dense rodent populations. Radiocollared guina were largely arrhythmic in their activity pattern and neighbouring individuals within both populations showed a high degree of spatial overlap, both within and between sexes. Core use areas also overlapped extensively, and no evidence was found to indicate that guina actively avoid conspecifics. These cats exhibited a consistent preference for relatively dense, thicket-forest habitat over less complexly structured vegetation, including stands of Nothofagus forest, the habitat category previously assumed to be key for this species. The results of this study are discussed within the context of conservation management for the continued survival of this endangered felid.

Item Type:Thesis (Doctoral)
Award:Doctor of Philosophy
Thesis Date:2004
Copyright:Copyright of this thesis is held by the author
Deposited On:09 Sep 2011 10:00

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