Livestock-Wildlife Conflict in Chile’s Petorca Mountain: Analysis of a Conflict Threatening Populations of Lama guanicoe in the Valparaiso Region

Solange Vargas

We propose to:

1) investigate L. guanicoe population density and habitat use,

2) characterize the social and economic conflict of L. guanicoe with stock breeders and

3) raise awareness and educate local population about the species’ ecological role.


In the mountainous areas of the Petorca Province (Valparaíso Region, Chile), the vulnerable species Lama guanicoe is victim of a hard and growing conflict of interest with stock breeders. However, the origin of the conflict remains ignored. This work will provide basic information for the establishment of adequate conservation strategies of L. guanicoe, and also pave the social foundations to ensure their success. Specifically, this project will provide essential information and actions for the conservation of Lama guanicoe. The principal outcomes are to:

1) establish the conservation status of L. guanicoe in a region where it is threatened by an intense conflict with domestic livestocks,

2) resolve the origin of the conflict and characterize its manifestation,

3) positively change the perception of L. guanicoe by local populations,

4) propose management solutions to mitigate the conflict and protect and preserve L. guanicoe populations.

Each of these aspects is fundamental for the development of adapted conservation plans for L. guanicoe and to ensure their long-term efficiency. Indeed, knowledge on the status of a population is essential to define its conservation needs. Therefore, our population study will allow establishing the status of Lama guanicoe populations in the Mountain of Petorca Province, Valparaíso Region. In addition, it will provide the core information needed to investigate their evolution over time.

Understanding the threats faced by endangered populations is another key aspect in conservation planning. In the Valparaíso Region, complaints by livestock breeders about L. guanicoe’s negative impacts have considerably increased in the last decade, indicating that competition with livestock is endangering guanaco’s populations in this region. By unravelling the origin and dynamic of the conflict, our study will allow proposing effective mitigation measures and conservation strategies. The success of such actions will be conditioned by the collaboration of local populations. Thus, an important task of this project will be to raise awareness about the ecological importance of L. guanicoe and to develop local collaborations to protect the populations of this species. In addition, as far as we know, our project will be the first of this kind for that ecosystem and Central Chile; and the impacts results shall be extended to others places of distribution.

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