Oryx

Short Communications

Continued survival of Hispaniolan solenodon Solenodon paradoxus in Haiti

Samuel T. Turveya1 c1, Helen M.R. Mereditha1 and R. Paul Scofielda2

a1 Institute of Zoology, Zoological Society of London, Regent's Park, London, NW1 4RY, UK.

a2 Canterbury Museum, Rolleston Avenue, Christchurch 8001, New Zealand.

Abstract

The Hispaniolan solenodon Solenodon paradoxus, one of only two surviving native Hispaniolan land mammals, has declined drastically in Haiti and has only been recorded from the Duchity region of the Massif de la Hotte in recent decades. Previous studies have been pessimistic about the probability of even short-term survival of this relict population, predicting its likely extinction by the start of the 21st century because of a range of anthropogenic threats. However, new surveys (sign surveys and interviews with villagers and subsistence farmers) and the discovery of three dead solenodons confirm the continued survival of the species in the Duchity region, apparently across a greater geographic area than previously recognized. This may reflect a cull on dogs around the Duchity region. Given the lack of any targeted mammal conservation research in Haiti for almost 2 decades, immediate further investigation is required into solenodon distribution, habitat utilization, density, and interaction with introduced predators across the region. The solenodons of the Massif de la Hotte may represent a distinct taxon, making the establishment of an effective research and conservation programme for this population an urgent priority.

(Received July 25 2007)

(Reviewed September 20 2007)

(Accepted October 25 2007)

Correspondence:

c1 Institute of Zoology, Zoological Society of London, Regent's Park, London, NW1 4RY, UK. E-mail samuel.turvey@ioz.ac.uk

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