Scientific research

With the objective of increasing biodiversity knowledge in the Greater Madidi-Tambopata Landscape and establishing baseline information for monitoring conservation status, WCS systematized all available information on wildlife in the region and carried out biodiversity surveys to further increase understanding regarding species diversity, distribution and abundance, particularly for birds and mammals. Advances can be seen particularly on the Bolivian side of the Greater Madidi-Tambopata Landscape when comparing data pre-1999 with that available 9 years later. To begin with there were only 11,531 records of 1,163 vertebrate species, whereas in 2008, largely thanks to WCS efforts with local partners, this number has grown to 59,554 records of 1,810 vertebrate species, including: 215 mammals, 1,004 birds, 153 reptiles, 169 amphibians and 269 fish.

Scientific research conducted by WCS in the landscape has led to the description of several new mammal species for Bolivia: the mountain paca (Cuniculus taczanowskii), the gray woolly monkey (Lagothrix cf. cana tschudii), the insectivorous sac-winged bat (Saccopteryx canescens) and the Madidi titi monkey (Callicebus aureipalatii), a new species for science. The second recording of the white tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus peruvianus) for Bolivia was reported, 25 years after the first, and two species of endemic primates were rediscovered in the western part of Beni Department, after 65 years of suspected extinction: Callicebus olallae and Callicebus modestus.

Likewise, WCS research registered 4 new endemic and threatened bird species in the montane forests of Bolivia; the black-throated thistle tail (Schizoea caharterti), the Bolivian recurvebill (Simoxenops striatus), the ashy antwren (Myrmotherula grisea) and the rufous-faced antpitta (Grallaria erythrotis). WCS also supported research that confirmed the rediscovery, along the Beni River, of the wattled curassow (Crax globulosa), a species previously believed to be extinct in the country; and of the Bolivian swallow-tailed cotinga (Phibalura boliviana) in the pampas of Apolo, a species whose last documented sighting was in 1902.

In order to analyze the spatial and ecological needs of the most charismatic and endangered wildlife species in the landscape, focal studies were conducted on the distribution, abundance, density, population dynamics and habitat preferences of: the Andean condor (Vultur gryphus), vicuña (Vicugna vicugna), Andean bear (Tremarctos ornatus), jaguar (Panthera onca), giant otter (Pteronura brasiliensis), marsh deer (Blastocerus dichotomus), white-lipped peccary (Tayassu pecari) and titi monkey species (C. modestus, C. olallae and C. aureipalatii). This provided information to compare and evaluate population changes of these species over time.