Historical and current range of the Near Threatened maned wolf Chrysocyon brachyurus in South America

Diego Queiroloa1 c1, José Roberto Moreiraa2, Lucía Solera3, Louise H. Emmonsa4, Flávio H.G. Rodriguesa5, Andrés A. Pautassoa6, José Luis Cartesa7 and Valéria Salvatoria8

a1 Centro Universitario de Rivera, Universidad de la República, Ituzaingó 667, Rivera, Uruguay

a2 Centro Nacional de Pesquisa de Recursos Genéticos e Biotecnologia, Empresa Brasileira de Pesquisa Agropecuária, Brasilia, DF, Brazil

a3 Cátedra de Fisiología Animal, DBByF, Universidad Nacional del Sur, Bahía Blanca, and Asociación Huellas, Argentina

a4 Smithsonian Institution, National Museum of Natural History, Washington, DC, USA

a5 Departamento de Biologia Geral, Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais, Belo Horizonte, MG, Brazil, and Associação para Conservação dos Carnívoros Neotropicais—Pró-Carnívoros, Brazil

a6 Área Zoología de Vertebrados, Museo Provincial de Ciencias Naturales ‘Florentino Ameghino’, Santa Fe, Argentina

a7 Asociación Guyra Paraguay, Asunción, Paraguay

a8 Istituto di Ecologia Applicata, Rome, Italy


The Near Threatened maned wolf Chrysocyon brachyurus is a South American endemic canid occurring mainly in grassland-dominated regions. We compiled and mapped recent and historical data to compare the species’ present and historical distributions and propose hypotheses for range shifts. There has been recent range expansion in eastern Brazil associated with the deforestation of the Atlantic Forest and conversion of habitat to grasslands for cattle range. The northern, north-eastern and eastern sectors of the species’ range have not yet experienced significant modifications, and the species persists in central Brazil, northern and eastern Bolivia, and south-eastern Peru. The largest range contractions have occurred at the species’ southern limits but maned wolves are still present in north-eastern, central and eastern Argentina, and there are a few records of the species' occurence from Uruguay and north-eastern and southern Rio Grande do Sul, southern Brazil. Historically the species occupied nearly all of Rio Grande do Sul, Uruguay and south to at least the 38th parallel in Argentina. The probable causes of the southern range loss are intense anthropogenic pressure combined with limiting abiotic factors such as temperature and humidity. We highlight the need to revise the view of how habitat modifications are influencing the range of C. brachyurus so as to improve and coordinate range-wide conservation strategies.

(Received November 11 2009)

(Reviewed January 25 2010)

(Accepted March 09 2010)

(Online publication May 04 2011)