|Town/Region||Machu Picchu Historical Sanctuary|
|Continent||Central and Latin America|
|Date||21 Jul 2005|
We seek to evaluate the study area using the Andean Cock-of-the-rock (Rupicola peruviana). From our experience, R. peruviana is the only avian organism that constitutes the best model to evaluate the quality of the system and that may work quite well as a flagship for conservation of the protected area. This species is an arboreal frugivore and a major seed disperser. The Andean cock-of-the-rock (ACOR) leks are located in forested areas where plant communities are commonly diverse.
This species has a broad altitudinal distribution, and is attractive to people, who are willing to pay to watch its reproductive behavior at leks. The proposed project fits well under two current paradigms in conservation biology: the long persistence of major frugivorous within fragmented areas and the use of a flagship species in conservation. In birds, there is not clear evidence that major frugivorous can adapt to changes in landscape structure.
A few studies have documented that bird diversity is greater in fragmented areas surrounded by exotic tree plantation while other species are restricted to the remaining patches. However, the behavior of a major seed disperser within fragmented areas could help explain:
(2) How populations’ genetic structure is maintained through time;
(3) What represents a minimum patch size for feeding and breeding purposes.
We think that as a strategic conservation approach a flagship species only need to operate in public relations and fundraising spheres, to have a major ecological role even if it is not threatened. Indeed, the ACOR is even attractive to rural people. They believe that males announce the start of the rainy season. In contrast to other flagship species (Jaguar eating local people’s livestock, or spectacled bears destroying people's crops), the ACOR does not have a negative effect on rural people. Thus, we believe that this species has all the requirements needed to play an important conservation role linked with tourism game viewing.
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