The dwarf brocket deer (Mazaman nana) is a cervid species that occupies the forests of southern Brazil and has been greatly affected by the drastic reduction of forested areas, especially the Araucaria forest. It is the neotropical deer less studied by science and its conservation status is classified by the International Union for Conservation of Nature as "data deficient" and the Brazilian agencies, based on inferences about the habitat losses, rank the species as threatened with extinction within the "vulnerable" category. Aware about this situation, this project aims to determine the species basic ecological parameters such as distribution, abundance and sex ratio. Given the rarity and high elusiveness of the species, it is proposed the use of indirect methods to achieve this objective. Thus, will be used methodologies based on the collect of faecal samples, DNA extraction and subsequent molecular and genetic analysis. About 200 faecal samples will be collected, with the help from a scat detection dog, in 15 protected areas spread over the south of Brazil. The selection of these areas purposely looked for different sizes and different forest formations. After species identification by PCR/RFLP and specialization of the samples, will be made the species distribution modeling. A protected area, with the presence of the species confirmed and the logistics and sampling facilitated, will be choose for a faecal sampling based on transects, every month for three months, in order to estimate the population through models of capture-mark-recapture. With this data will be calculated the density of the species in the area sampled. For this, faeces samples will be individualized with five microsatellite markers. The sex ratio will be calculated with the abundance data and the sexing of the samples by the amelogenin locus amplification. The distribution modeling will be done at the software Maxent using the found occurrence points and the environmental variables from Ambdata database of INPE. This information will contribute to the beginning of an adequate species monitoring program and to determine priority areas for the dwarf brocket deer conservation.
News published in Agência FAPESP Newsletter about the scholarship: